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What is the value of social networking sites?

What is the value of social networking sites? - by Frankie
A potential buyer might find you on a social website and like what you wrote and decide to call you about helping them. - by realtor
Before social marketing, entering into a business relationship was as much based on impressions as it was on a resume or porfolio. Through social networking you get to understand a person's ideas, politics, humour etc. You can meet people based on these attributes over a long period of time which gives you a better understanding of a personality over any meeting or interview. Business relationships can be made over time based on the exchange of ideas that both parties are fairly sure of sharing. - by nesh thompson
Social networking is a valuable way to find new leads. I just started using them for my job (Salesconx) and discovered that EVERYONE is on at least one networking site. Thanks to building up profiles on LinkedIn, Sales Gravy, Biznik, and others, Salesconx has seen an increase in users and traffic.

Find out what social networking sites your target audience uses, create a profile, and start networking!

Good luck,
-Gina - by ginac84
Find out what social networking sites your target audience uses, create a profile, and start networking!
How did you find this out about your target audience Gina? Where did that information come from? - by Frankie
What is the value of social networking sites?
Brand awareness, link building, sales, collaboration, communication... it is what you make it. - by SpeedRacer
What is the value of social networking sites?
Social networking can open doors and expand your possibilities. I have used networking sites to generate leads directly and indirectly not to mention all of the networking opportunities from very niche specific sites.

While I feel most people approach using these types of venues improperly if worked properly it can pay off in spades. I did a blog posting about it recently at : http://paulrushing.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/your-roledex-is-not-your-network-the-world-is/ - by PaulRushing
I have mainly built my Internet/network marketing business using social media sites like squidoo, facebook, digg, twitter, etc. Why did I do it this way?
  1. When I started online I had no budget.
  2. I was amazingly shy, and scared of the telephone. . . not a good combo for a network marketer. Since I'd rather chew rusty needles than go to a "networking" event.
  3. I was intrigued by the amount of people and diversity on these sites.
There are more reasons why, but hose are my personal top 3. Someone suggested link building, this is an added perk of using these types of sites, links tend to come with a high Google page rank.

But the biggest valuable benefit of social networking, in a business sense is establishing yourself as an expert solution provider within your "target" market. And you can really drill deep to find the perfect "targets" within these online communities, since like tends to attract like.

There are many ways to do this. Hope this helps.
~Jesse - by Jesse B.
I'm not sure that social networking is for everyone and I believe this because it all depends on your target marketplace. In some of the markets that I work in, there are few tech people and then there are others where social networking is a must. When I mention social networking to a crowd that is over 50+, I get a lot of "what is social networking". If I am talking to low tech people, the same "what" comes up.

Social networking is a valuable tool for finding new accounts and people to connect with. This site for example is a great resource for finding new prospects and learning what you need through networking with the right people.

I have dipped my toe in social networking and the results have been ok. However, I must balance the time it takes to build this network and all the other methods of growing my business. If my business were primarily local, it might not be as effective to use social networking. That being said, we are not in a limited market anymore and expanding our reach beyond our geographic market is important.
- by Steve Martinez
How did you find this out about your target audience Gina? Where did that information come from?
Hi Frankie,

Since I'm in charge of sellers here at Salesconx, I know to look for sellers. I used to sell (retail), but I never used any networking sites to meet others like me, so I'm not too sure where sellers hang out online (or if any do!).

To find sellers for the site, it's a lot of research along with trial and error. I created many accounts on a variety of sites and utilized forums and blogs to ask users what other sites they enjoyed using. I also have some Google Alerts set up for specific keywords. I find blogs, forums (like Sales Practice), and other social networking sites through the alerts and from just poking around online.

Hope that helped! - by ginac84
What is the value of social networking sites?
Do you participate in local business networking? Online social networking is a softer side of this kind of networking. I say softer because if you go in gun slinging, it's a similar result you get in your local community: people will come to know you as only wanting to sell something.

Online you connect with people who might be able to connect you to whoever you want, might be your customers, might want to interview you (for work or the press) or connect with people for strategic alliances, and more.

If you participate in some of the online websites, go with a similar attitude as the most successful networkers in general: be a hub or a connector - give and you'll get; get to know people, give of yourself or your time or resources. Take this softer approach not being a hook - try to grab, immediately sell without knowing your audience or people and you'll likely regret.

Regards, - by patweber
How many of us have gone to pubs, made friends who became customers and advocates? For me, I would say not much...though I know of friends who have been pretty successful in that area. Being at a virtual venue like this Forum, or Facepages etc is like that. When I visited this forum today, I saw a message from Mr Blackwelll say..."Hey Alex You haven't been particpating often". The pub owner tells me that same...and that is why I have not made too many useful contacts. - by alexhar
This is an awesome thread.

There are so many useful ways to use social networking to help build your brand, protect your reputation, encourage change and to foster life long relationships.

The uses are unlimited.

I did a blog post about it and here is a list I gave there:
Here are some simple tips on how to maximize online networking:
  • Build your network before you need it. Make contacts and offer value in your association without asking for anything in return.
  • Became a giver in online public settings. Offering, advice and opinion without it being solicited. Do so tastefully and diplomatically.
  • If your opinion disagrees with the status quo be able to give the why, making sure to add value to the conversation.
  • Do it often!! Don’t be a passive contact. Stay in touch and keep adding to and growing the conversation. Usually the small minority will influence the powerful majority.
- by PaulRushing
I would think the value of social networking sites is growing a network of people who like you and want to help you succeed not finding customers. - by Houston
Niche social websites get very targeted traffic. If you develop a positive presence in your niche community you're exposing your comments and shared content to this targeted traffic and who knows what that will lead to.

Some people understand this and most don't. This is a sales training community right? How many sales trainers do you see responding to posts? Not many right? It stands to reason that if most sales trainers understood the value of social networking sites they would haunt this place but they don't. What does that tell you about most sales trainers? - by Jolly Roger
I haven't found any business value yet but maybe I don't do it well. I know many say they find much business value in social networking online.

For the past few years anyway I've often asked directly: how much business have you done social networking? and I usually get vague to no answers.

Likewise, I get lots of people saying: I'm making friends, I'm making connections, I'm creating a network of connections to help one another, things like that.

I've met people over the years who talk like that and one day I discover they have high hopes and lots of positive affirmative envisioned business activity they expect to occur and are still waiting for that day.

So putting my limited experience together I haven't found it to work for me but it may be that I am inept at it, and I haven't found many people who have convinced me social networking has great business value for them.

MitchM - by MitchM
I've met people over the years who talk like that and one day I discover they have high hopes and lots of positive affirmative envisioned business activity they expect to occur and are still waiting for that day.
Maybe they aren't doing it very well. :dun I mean that. If networking really doesn't work then salespeople should be told the truth so they don't go on wild goose chases.

Some people understand this and most don't. This is a sales training community right? How many sales trainers do you see responding to posts? Not many right? It stands to reason that if most sales trainers understood the value of social networking sites they would haunt this place but they don't. What does that tell you about most sales trainers?
That would tell me that the sales trainers at SalesPractice are way ahead of their peers. thmbp2; - by Thomas
Hey all,

I guess I'll weigh in here, just because I do have a fairly decent web presence and I use social sites like facebook and others to drive traffic and generate leads for my business.

I've found that there's a synergistic effect when you use these sites well, because not only do you build your network, your websites rank higher in the search engines because as your network grows the power of your activities within it grow in proportion.

What do I mean? Let's say that I have a Facebook account, a Digg account, and a Squidoo account.
  • I write an business related article on Squidoo and send it out to my internal network there (within the Squidoo community).
  • One of those people in my network then submits my article to Digg, I then take that Digg submission and "shout it" to people within my Digg network, who then in turn Digg that article, linking their respective accounts back to my original article on Squidoo.
  • When I Digg my article on Facebook, the Digg module on my Facebook page updates letting my network that I've Dugg that article.
So what is the result of all this? Quite a bit really, not only can I generate immediate traffic to almost any webpage that I want, mind you I wouldn't want to send traffic to a sales letter as this would be against social networking rules. But I can send people to an informative article that I've written, that then links to a salespage.

Using this method I generate a consistant flow of leads and sales for my business. This is the quick and dirty version of how I do it, but you get the point.

Hope it helps,
Be well,
Jesse - by Jesse B.
That would tell me that the sales trainers at SalesPractice are way ahead of their peers. thmbp2;
You phrasesd that in a better light than I would have. - by Jolly Roger
As with anything, the results vary wildly with which social network you are on.

If you are targetting consumers, then Facebook is the place to be.

If you are targetting large corporations, then LinkedIn may help you identify who you should be speaking to (although it discourages members accepting invitations from people they don't know unfortunately).

If you target smaller companies then we have launched WeCanDo.BIZ into this space.

Find yoruself on the wrong network and it is like selling to the wrong market. You won't see the results. But get it right and it can be an inexpensive route to leads.

IH - by wecandobiz
The value in social networking is that you get those people who are most intestered in your products or services to raise their hand. Just in the past couple of days, I've had two people contact me about my marketing services. The best part is that they are qualified prospects.sn; - by raedawn
The value in social networking is that you get those people who are most intestered in your products or services to raise their hand. Just in the past couple of days, I've had two people contact me about my marketing services. The best part is that they are qualified prospects.sn;
You are absolutely correct. You have a target market that is defined by you. But it can't be just the social networking in order to build a large business. You must have all things working including YouTube, email marketing, blogs, all social networks, etc. I really believe the entire network has to be built about you and your solutions to people's problems and not just a product or service. My opinions, you understand! - by mcaldwell
What is the value of social networking sites?
Hi All

If you are involved in sales of any description networking is invaluable. I agree with a fee sites. Think about what you really want to achieve first and then plan your activity. It is so easy to spend loots of time on twitter digg etc etc with not a lot to show for it.

Like anything focus is the key !!

Best Wishes

SalesManagersCoach;bg - by SalesManagersCoach
Has anyone good experiences with Twitter? Even though I have lots of followers it seems that my tweets drown in an ocean of messages.

Only when I send @ replies or direct messages there is some interaction, but it is such hard work to keep the conversation going! - by ChannelSales
Has anyone good experiences with Twitter? Even though I have lots of followers it seems that my tweets drown in an ocean of messages.

Only when I send @ replies or direct messages there is some interaction, but it is such hard work to keep the conversation going!
Hi ChannelSales

You make a great point. It all comes back to what your outcomes are. Will you meet the people you want. Those in your "niche".

I am just dabbling at the moment as we move and explore our on line business. Laser focus is the key. ID your true target market then found out where they hang out. It might not be on twitter.

I will let you know how it goes for us during the year.

The upside is ......use it to connect with your market though don't let it dominate your time

Best Wishes

SalesManagersCoach

Are you on or off line or both? - by SalesManagersCoach
If you have the time, social networking is simply another way for you to connect with a segment of your audience that you may otherwise not be reaching.

The way I look at it (as a PR and product manager) is a way to listen and engage with an audience segment that is important to our company (because that's why we're in business - our clients). It's not everything, but just another channel to communicate.

So much more can be said here, but I'll leave it at that. - by Lisa Grimm
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