There has been an explosion of Social Networking sites in recent years and suddenly we are all being asked to be someone’s ‘friend’, whether we know them or not. The biggest issue that most businesses I come across have with these services though, is the time. The time taken by employees who are viewing the sites, the time to find out how they work and then the time it takes to establish them as appropriate communication methodologies for a marketing campaign or strategy. Quite often what happens though, is that most businesses give up before the seeds they have sown have had a chance to shoot.
However, the advantage of the social networking services, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn, are that they CAN be valuable sales, marketing, and support tools, not only for the customer, but also for the company. And the biggest benefit has to be in the power of the ‘referral’. Essentially, if you can connect with potential customers through any of these services, then you have the chance to connect with their contacts and friends in a way that is a powerful advertisement for your brand or service. This is often known as FOAF (friend of a friend) marketing .
Most businesses should by now understand the power that a relevant quote, testimonial or case study (with input from the client) can have when closing a sale with a new potential customer. Well, social networking allows you to take that one step further by allowing your connections/friends to demonstrate their confidence in you by linking to you directly.