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Session: Effectively Leveraging Social Networking

Posted on Oct 17th, 2007
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    Effectively Leveraging Social Networking panel

    When you have all the social media essentials, and you know that you need to be social and active in your social networking communities, how do you effectively leverage that to benefit yourself (and your company)?

    The speakers in this session on SMX Social Media Day 2 gave the audience tips and recommendations on how to best use social networking, specifically Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace, to make yourself known in the networking world.

    Dave McClure of 500Hats spoke first with a fun tutorial on Facebook. Facebook is great for promoting events and for joining groups to share your brands and ideas and products to those interested in your industry. One of the main characteristics of Facebook that Dave focused on was leveraging the news feed in Facebook.

    The news feed is where users are notified of what their friends have been doing in the Facebook community. Have you bitten someone and turned them into a zombie recently? How about changing your profile picture? Your friends have been notified. Every group you join, every event you plan to attend, every time you write on someone’s wall, the news feed is updated with this information and your friends can see it all.

    You can leverage this news feed for marketing in a number of ways. If you create or join groups related to your company, your friends will see these groups and possibly come and join themselves. You can also change your profile photo to a company logo and that will get some attention to your profile and brand. There is also a Facebook toolbar you can install, and when you are viewing a website, you can hit the “share” button, and the URL you are looking at will be placed in the news feed to let others know what you are looking at.

    You can also create a group that is focused on your industry or company and promote your brand that way. There are places for you to upload images and videos and links for people in your group to view. This can help with building brand recognition when you push this information out to the group you created.

    Next, Helen Overland, director of Search Engine Marketing at non-linear creations, spoke on using LinkedIn to promote yourself and your brand. LinkedIn, for those who aren’t aware,  is a professional social networking site where you can connect with colleagues, friends and friends of friend’s friends to try to reach exactly the right people in your target market.

    LinkedIn can increase visibility and branding of your company, can generate direct sales, generate traffic and support SEO. There are many features on LinkedIn such as the ability to announce your website or service to users, drive readers to blog posts, answer others questions on LinkedIn Answers and research potential clients or colleagues. Also, there is no nofollow on LinkedIn links, so they can help build clean links to your company site, while also ranking in search engine results.

    Finally, Cindy Krum of Blue Moon Works, discussed MySpace. Even with the controversies surrounding MySpace recently, it can still be a great site to reach out to a specific demographic. Cindy told us how to create a power profile on MySpace by using tactics such as frequently updating the blog, posting company images and logos in photo albums, posting upcoming events on the MySpace events page and announcing promotions, contests and events to your friends with MySpace bulletins. You can also embed videos and widgets into your MySpace page if you took a fun video at your holiday party or you have some good interviews to display that benefit the company.

    And MySpace profiles also rank in SERPs, so make it keyword relevant and informative to your network.

    What is important to remember about social networking sites is participation and building a network of friends. In most cases, friends won’t just come to you. Do your research, find friends of friends and connect with them. Also, update frequently. A profile can’t just sit there; it needs to benefit the users somehow and keep them coming back to the profile for a reason. There can be incredible value in social networking a long as it is done correctly.