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Social Networking: Getting the Most Out of These Sites for Your Business

Jinger Jarrett
Oct 11, 2007
The mistake many people make in marketing on social networking sites is to not familiarizing themselves with the site before jumping in to participate. Each social networking site is different, and each site has certain requirements, as well as certain things they allow and disallow.

Prior to jumping in and participating, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the site you are on so that you can get the most out of the site.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Read the Terms of Service.
Again, each site is different, and certain sites allow certain things while others don't. Read these terms first to find out what you can and can't do. I've found that by respecting the terms of service of a site, not only will you get more out of the site, but your marketing efforts will be more effective.

2. Study the help section.
The help section will often contain information on the different features on the site. Some sites offer free classifieds, some don't. Some offer instant messaging, while others don't. Look for the features that you want to make sure that they're actually offered.

3. Look for opportunities to promote yourself.
As I mentioned in the last tip, some sites offer free classifieds. You can study these sections to see what you can offer. Some will offer video, and you can create videos to promote yourself and your offerings.

Some of these sites offer blogs, and with your own blog, you have a platform you can use to talk about what you care about. Beware though: don't just write reviews about how great your business is, or something like that. Provide real content: reviews, articles, industry trends. In other words, offer content that will make others want to take an interest in your business and what you sell.

Other sites, like Facebook, offer all kinds of tools and widgets you can use in your profile to promote your products and services, as well as promote your favorite books or other resources.

Almost all of these sites have communities of one type or another, whether they're forums, groups, or both.

4. Browse through the forums and groups.
Depending on what topic you are interested in, you should be able to find forums or groups to discuss your topic. On some sites, these two functions are combined.

Sites like Facebook call them networks.
What you can post on a particular group or forum will depend on the topic, as well as the rules for that forum or group. You should always look for posting instructions within the group or forum to see if there are any additional rules when posting. This way, you avoid getting spammed, or worse, banned, for posting the wrong thing.

You may also want to learn to write a little HTML, or at least enough to create your own links. Some of these sites will format your HTML for you, but with others, if you don't create your hyperlink, it will simply be a plain link others can't click on.

Avoid creating me too posts. These won't get you any fans. Make sure you read the forum or group first to make sure you don't post about topics that have already been covered.

The important thing to remember is that once you understand how a site works, get out there and participate. Then, when others get to know you, they're more likely to want to do business with you.
About the Author
Want to learn how top marketers use social networking to expand their businesses? "Social Marketing" teaches you how to easily bring in more profits in just a few minutes a day. Meet me on MySpace.

Jinger Jarrett is the author of "Internet Marketing for Free: The GUIDE." (On Amazon).
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