It used to be that a company’s online marketing efforts consist of having a Web page, sending out e-mails, and advertising on high-traffic sites. However, in this age of social networking sites – like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace – these efforts are no longer enough!
Social networking sites have allowed businesses big and small to be more interactive in the way they present their companies, brands, products, and services. Online marketing has ceased to be a one-way street where the businesses do all the talking and hope that their potential customers listen and try out their goods and services. Interactivity has become the key feature of online marketing on social networking sites.
Businesses can still advertise their products and services by sending out a Tweet or updating their Facebook status for all their followers and friends to see, or update them about the latest promotions and discounts. Meanwhile, customers can post questions and complaints in real time.
A company doing business on social networking sites can further keep itself ahead of the game by easily developing customer relationships and loyalty. You are no longer an
e-mail address promoting a product via spam, or a Web site they stumbled upon, but a profile with a real person behind it. This personal touch, which is an additional way of interacting with your customers, can make them feel connected and supported and in turn leads to more positive feelings and loyalty to your business. Anne Rice, for instance, just does not write great novels, she goes on Facebook to discuss any aspect of her characters as her fans ask her questions about them, or she conducts online writing workshops for her fans. Rice also speaks to them, making them feel that they are friends and that she, too, has her own hopes and dreams.
Social networking sites also provide a way for businesses to talk about their products in a more natural setting. You are not a business that intrudes on people as they read e-mails from friends and family, but you are part of the social network. That means that people will be more receptive to your pitch. If you provide a link to your Web site, people are also more inclined to click on it and visit your site.
More importantly, these links on social networking sites become new inbound links to your site, which makes your site rank higher on search engines. Few people realize that the links they put up on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook do not only point their friends and family to their site, they also point search engine spiders to their sites, making it seem more important and therefore making their site rank higher on Google, Yahoo and other search engines.