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5 Reasons Friends in Your Social Media Networks Do Matter

May 22, 2008
To those of us who use social networks frequently, or are familiar with the way the social web works, this post will seem self-evident.

However, in conversations with a couple clients and individuals lately who are unfamiliar with social media marketing, this question has consistently cropped up.

The main problem people have is reconciling making friends with possible ROI.

What you need to know is that by adding friends or accepting friend requests, you are taking one more step to building your authority and visibility in your industry, which WILL lead to ROI (in the form of traffic, sales conversions or whatever your goal) as people recognize you as a leader in your field and choose you over possible competitors for services and products they need.

Here are 5 general, point-by-point reasons friends matter on social networks:

1. Relationship building.
The whole reason social networking is successful is because its very foundation is built on creating and maintaining relationships with people.

Start conversations, introduce yourself, do everything you can to put yourself out there and meet as many people as possible.

If you like the person or company you've built a relationship with, you'll probably recommend them to your friends, and vice versa.

If you make friends with someone in a related industry, you'll benefit from recommending their services to your clients, and they'll benefit from recommending you to theirs (e.g. a web designer recommends a social media marketer they like, a Realtor recommends a mortgage provider they know is honest and effective, and vice versa).

2. Referrals and recommendations.
You matter to me, and I matter to you, because if I like that really cool video you sent me, I'll visit the site its from to look for more.

If I digg that awesome article and send it to my friends, or they see I dugg it, they might check it out too. If I get an awesome deal on this website's service, I'm going to send you there.

Or if I hear from you about it, I'm going to go there. If I find a fan page for a product I love, I might stop by, create a profile, and add myself as a fan, then tell all my friends about it.

You do the calculations.

3. Access to more user info.
Many sites hide people's profiles until you add them as a friend. Thus, adding someone as a friend is a good way to communicate with them in a more personal setting.

4. UGC, or User-Generated Content.
The more friends you have and interact with, the more content is produced on your site or page, and the more visible it becomes.

If you have a ton of people talking on your Facebook fan page, for example, all that content is adding to your area's ability to be ranked on the search engines AND attract more users.

5. A large social community.
The more people you add as friends and the more you get to know them, and they you, the more popular you or your social networking profile becomes.

Soon, you have a large community of supporters that further reinforces your authority and leader status in your industry.

What better way to brand your company and communicate a specific message to a mass of people?
About the Author
Wendy Moyer writes for search engine marketing company AuthorityDomains.com. Authority Domains offers a host of Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing services in addition to an SEM Blog.
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