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Using Social Networks

Written By: Michael D. Hayes

You may have heard terms like viral marketing and social networks but you are not quite sure what they mean. And business is so competitive in this economy, you are wondering if viral marketing will bring customers to you. Social networks are the latest tool used by viral marketers to create a buzz around their products or services. These networks are luring businesses because the accounts are free.  Some of the better known examples are:

  • MySpace.com. The site allows you to create a page and invite others to be your friends. You can blog, add videos and pictures. Many businesses have pages on Myspace.com but the site has been particularly effective for movies, music and other entertainers.
  • Facebook.com. Facebook started out as a phenomenon among high school and college students but has quickly spread to the over 40 crowd. Businesses can create a free “page” on the site and ask “friends” to become a fan.
  • YouTube. The site allows users to add videos. While most people use YouTube for entertainment purposes, businesses have added commercials, speeches and other informative videos.

While these are the top three social networks, new ones are springing up every day. Some social networks cater to certain religious groups. Some are designed for small business owners to network. No matter what social network you decide to join, here are a few tips to help you attract customers.

  • Don’t put anything on your page that you don’t want a potential customer to read or hear. “Baby Got Back” may be your favorite song but if you are selling insurance, don’t add the song to your page. Don’t add explicit, obscenity-laced scenes from your favorite movies either.
  • Do consider hiring professionals to help you create your pages and videos. You will be reaching people you may not reach through traditional marketing channels. Make sure you put your best face forward. You can find freelance professionals on sites like www.ifreelance.com.
  • If you have “friends” who know unflattering things about you, tell them not to make comments on your page that would put you in a bad light. You don’t want customers seeing you with a lampshade on your head or reading about your naughty party last night. Real friends will honor your wishes. If your friends continue to put embarrassing things on your pages, block them.

You can find tutorials on the websites or from online resources if you are not sure how to set up your pages. Also consider asking your children. Often your kids are your best advisor when it comes to the options available on the Internet.

Michael D. Hayes is a native of Arizona, and is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management. He purchased Momentum Specialized Staffing in 2003 when the company’s primary business line was recruiting commercial truck drivers. Michael has transformed the company into a successful full-service staffing provider. Michael is a member of the Executives’ Association of Greater Phoenix (EAGP), 100 Club of Arizona, Men’s Art Council, and The Arizona Trucking Association.

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