Saturday, May 10, 2008

Social Networking as a Columbus Internet Marketing Tool

What do MySpace, Orkut and FaceBook all have in common? They are all social networking websites that give Columbus Internet users the opportunity to communicate with others in Columbus quickly and create online communities consisting of like-minded people. Social networking groups can range from small groups of friends to professionals and businesspersons, and is now a major source of professional networking between Columbus professionals.

To Internet marketers in Columbus, these networking groups are a virtual gold mine because they can reach their target audience in social networking websites inexpensively or even for free.

However, social networking sites have become subject to abuse by unscrupulous marketers. This is the reason social networking websites are cracking down on new types of spam, such as bulletin spam and message spam on MySpace. This type of social networking spam results from attempts by marketers in Columbus to artificially inflate their "friend" count or how many people are in their social network. They do this through mass-adding and bots. Most of the time, these people market their own products or services to their "friends" or they charge a fee for others to advertise through their social network.

In general, social networking spam does not work. This does not mean, however, that it won't convert; it means that this method of social networking for Internet marketing rarely yields a decent ROI or return on investment compared to other Internet marketing tactics employed by Columbus Web Design companies.

Below are three reasons social networking spam is ineffective:

1. The big social networking accounts rarely have target members. Thus, if you try to build your social network through mass-adding and bots or by paying someone in Columbus who owns a large social network to blast your advertisement to his group, the people who will see your advertising message are not likely going to be people who are in your target market.

2. If you pay a web design company that has a big social networking account to send your advertisement to his friends, be aware that most of the people in his network are not going to ever see your ad or message. This is because your ad is only going to be visible to them if they are logged in their accounts.

3. If your target members ever do see your message, it is more likely that you'll have a very low response. They will read your message, but there is no guarantee that they will do what you want them to do in your message, such as check out your link or offer and actually buy from you.

You can still use social networking websites effective as part of your Internet marketing efforts. Here are some tips from a Columbus Web Design company:

1. Build your "friends" list naturally. Resist the temptation to use bots or mass-add people to your network.

2. Make it a habit to personally welcome anyone who joins your social network.

3. Send out your bulletins and messages to members of your social network when they are likely to be online. For instance, sending your bulletins during a holiday or weekends would give your message lower exposure because the people in your network are highly likely to be away from their computers.

4. Instead of just sending links to members of your social network, take the time to actually craft something that would prompt them to read and check out your offer.

5. Regularly contact members of your social group. However, avoid contacting and sending them too many message too frequently because you'll look like a spammer.

6. Search social networking sites for groups related to your niche. Join these groups and make sure you read and understand the posting rules there before you send out your message or ad.