Social media… it’s most of the rage today! It is increasingly becoming a more integral part of people’s everyday lives, especially now that people can hold the entire world within their pockets with cell phones that are Web enabled and have data packages. Since these day there are over two billion people — nearly one-third the entire world’s population — connected via social networking, it has become crucial, even critical, for businesses to take advantage of the huge potential given in their mind by social media. Those who fail to take advantage of this trend achieve this at their own peril!

Dejavu All Over Again!

Some say we’re seeing the repeat of trends we saw at the turn of the century… all over again. Although Internet as a communication tool began October 29, 1969, celebrating the initial communication between two distant computers, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in March of 1989, giving us the hyper-text markup language (HTML) that allows pages, links and browsers used all over the world to communicate with each other. In the season 2000, the Web as we all know it absolutely was a mere eleven years old. Businesses were beginning to appreciate that the Internet was becoming bigger and bigger and was moving beyond the military (its original user), academia and business, and increasingly into people’s homes (and now… even their pockets!) Online shopping was gradually gaining on brick and mortar retail, competing more and more for shoppers’ dollars. Businesses that took advantageous asset of the trend became more successful, whereas the ones that didn’t suffered as their competitors beat them in the web marketplace.

Good examples which have made the headlines recently include Borders Books and Blockbuster Video. Borders didn’t believe the Web would become as large as it has and was soon upstaged by Amazon, who began employing their online platform for books and now sell more or less everything. Blockbuster Video, once seen in so many communities, has now closed so many of their brick and mortar stores since Netflix came on the scene. Had it not been for Dish Network stepping in, most Blockbuster stores could have had to close. Now their wanting to win back Netflix customers angered over recent fee hikes. Blockbuster is hoping to stay viable and relevant making use of their newest program.

Return on Investment… Bang for Your Buck!

The main point is that we’re seeing a similar trend in operation today with regard to social media. Business is starting to “humanize” and return to that “get-to-know-you” feel of hometown businesses where business owners and customers often actually connect on an individual basis. Social networking is helping to produce this personal feel on a much larger scale now, in the sense that people can stay digitally more connected than ever… whilst they “cocoon” within their homes/offices and have less face-to-face communication.

While we can argue the ill social effects of this social trend, businesses can’t ignore it. By the nature of what they do, those associated with network marketing, a.k.a. affiliate marketing or multi-level marketing, certainly can’t ignore it as a primary tool for building down lines and expanding their business beyond their warm market of family and friends, a lot of whom may or may not be thinking about a home-based business or work-at-home business opportunity, however quickly growing that trend is. The social networking explosion is getting more and more attention. Business leaders are referring to it, authors are authoring it, and some say it’s just the beginning.

Business trend experts like Gary Vaynerchuk, writer of The Thank You Economy, claim that we’re seeing the “calm ahead of the social networking storm” (see the hyperlink to his MSNBC interview on YouTube at the conclusion of the “LinkedIn” discussion below. It will blow your brain what this guy knows and envisions about the power of social networking for business!). Many individuals in the business world haven’t yet jumped into social media. They’re sizing it up and calculating the return on investment… not realizing that the longer they wait, the more they stand to get rid of from the enormous potential of to be able to obtain brand, product(s), and service(s) out before potentially thousands of people in an exceptionally cheap way in comparison to traditional print and TV advertising media. Branding, name recognition, market share growth, customer loyalty, brand ambassadorship… are important goals of business enhanced via social media.

But We Have a Website!

Individual entrepreneurs, companies large and small, organizations, network marketers, affiliate programs, even nonprofit organizations that believe that having a site will do of an online presence today are sorely mistaken. cheap panel Since so many current and potential customers and clients are engaged in social networking, they’re coming to anticipate more and more that businesses and organizations they keep company with may also be able to engage together on social networking platforms. This worldwide recession we’re in is making social networking platforms more important to remain relevant… to maintain a presence, build customer loyalty, and just survive.

I’m Broke… I Have a Limited Budget!

Those on a restricted marketing budget will discover out that social networking marketing is extremely cost-effective, with a great return on investment in comparison to traditional, non-trackable forms of advertising. Having a member of staff devote even part of his/her time keeping social networking up to date is well worth the time and effort and expense in the added, perceived value it will generate, providing information regarding your products, services, news, sales, deals, etc., and potentially increasing your customer/client base tremendously in the process.

Blogging, as an example, is a simple way to produce an outreach program for the brand, company, organization, etc., that will not only raise awareness of who you are and that which you do, but raise your credibility by having an ever-growing, social-media-savvy public. They will be able to share both positives and negatives about their experience together with your products and/or service, particularly if you respond to them. They’ll develop more confidence in your brand, feel more connected to you, and develop more loyalty. They’ll much more likely become the willing ambassadors for the brand, product, or service that you would like them to be! Also… people who DO have a site, which will be normally used to provide information, take orders, etc., will most likely see increased traffic on the sites which can lead to increased sales… and an increase in your return on the investment you made in your social networking campaigns. Additionally is that a lot of social networking platforms are available FOR FREE, or with little actual monetary investment highly relevant to other kinds of traditional advertising, and with greater return on investment.

A Growing Trend… Better Jump On the Bandwagon!

Some estimate the amount of social networking sites at 30,000 and growing by 300 new sites a month! So, to prevent the pitfalls of starting at the wrong place, the best places to begin are with the current top giants, like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn. You would like your customers to get at know you first. You intend to share useful information with them… information that’s educational, informative, entertaining, even funny… but valuable You don’t wish to accomplish outright selling of your goods and services in social networking, which will be more for engaging your customers or potential customers. You intend to lead your customers to your website, and that’s where you is going to do your selling!

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