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The Rise of Social Networking Profits

Don't Miss Out on This Valuable Traffic Source.
 
Paul Smithson - 2nd February 2009
   
paul smithson Social networks are all the rage these days and sites like MySpace and Facebook are some of the most visited sites in the world. They offer people the opportunity to meet, get to know one another, show the world what they believe in, and even market to each other.

But social networks have a special dynamic going on that is of crucial importance to Internet marketers and that is that the people that are members of social networks typically don’t like being marketed to.  They’ll report anything that even looks like it might be spam, and they can be ruthless about it. 

The buying power of the millions of users on these sites is undeniable, but if you’re going to market on social networks, you have to do it the right way or you could end up having seriously burned fingers.

The first thing you need to know about is the friend dynamic. 

Most of the social networks hinge on people building lists of friends.  The people they put on their friends list are people they know or trust.  Although some people will allow absolutely anyone onto their list, most people prefer to keep their list more exclusive. Once people are on their list, they become just like trusted friends and we all know that you shouldn’t betray the trust of your friends.

Now that you know the basic dynamics lets move on to how you go about tapping into that.

When you decide to start marketing on social networks, you have to build a profile.  If you want to, you can use a stock photo and create a fake profile, but if you do this, you’re setting yourself up for possible failure. 

It’s much better to be completely honest. Build a profile that tells a little about who you are, what you like to do, and what you do for a living.  Don’t advertise anything on your profile, because most networks don’t allow this.

Once you’ve built a profile, it’s time to start adding friends.  You should try to find people who seem like they would be interested in whatever it is you intend to sell.  If your primary product is in the fishing niche, then you’ll want to mostly add people who have fishing as one of their hobbies on their profile. 

You need to build a targeted list of friends, just like you would build a targeted list of subscribers to your email newsletter.  Now remember this, you can’t market straight to your friends on the social network. 

If you start blasting out bulletins to your friends, you’re probably going to get banned very quickly and rightly so.  What you should do is really get to know many of your new found friends.  It’s a social network, so get networking. 

Aim to get these people to like you, and trust you, just as you would in a real-world networking environment. As your relationship grows you can, when you feel it right to do so, introduce them to a site you own. For example, you could casually mention that you own a forum that discusses fishing, and you’d love it if they would come participate there, or you can mention that you’ve written a book on the subject. 

Remember, it’s perfectly fine for friends to tell each other about websites they own or products they sell, but it’s NOT okay to start spamming people you just met as that is unethical.

If you think about it, you wouldn’t walk into a bar and start trying to sell to complete strangers, but you might consider mentioning what you do once you’ve got to know people. It’s exactly the same in the virtual world.

Just remember that marketing on social networks correctly is time consuming. If you want to do it correctly, you have to use the networks the way they were intended and not as a soap box for promoting your products. If you do that then you won’t go far wrong.

About Paul Smithson - Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool. Since graduating in Business Strategy and Direct Marketing from two of Europe’s leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce, on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line businesses.


For more information about this, and many other Internet Marketing-related topics, visit Paul Smithson's site, www.xsitepro.com.

Source: http://www.xsitepro.com/the-rise-of-social-networking-profits.html


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