Get massive exposure for your business, no special computer skills needed.
— Quit wasting money on traditional advertising and marketing campaigns.
— Blog to connect with customers and generate word of mouth.
— Boost your visibility with Google; use MySpace for viral marketing.
— Ignite word of mouth with Web social networks
No matter what kind of business you have, its success depends on two things: It must serve a need, and you must find customers. Most new businesses fail simply because the right people never heard about them. And this is the paradox for entrepreneurs: People aren’t paying attention to traditional marketing and advertising anymore. But free advertising is alive and well.
Whatever you want to call it — buzz, word of mouth, peer-to-peer or viral marketing — you can’t just manufacture it. You must earn it — by engaging your target market.
Fortunately, there is a very straightforward, ethical way of gaining this free exposure: by participating on social networks. These social media sites, such as MySpace, Facebook, and other Web 2.0 networks, allow members to create profiles of themselves (or their business) with the objective of meeting like-minded friends and partners who share the same passions and goals.
The individuals participating on these networks might be searching for anything — a mentor, a ride to work, a date for Saturday night, recommendations for a movie, a new job, or perhaps they want to meet someone who’s an expert in their hobby. For business owners who learn to use them, social networks can provide valuable free exposure to a worldwide pool of new customers and fans. These social networks have turned traditional marketing on its head. No longer must a business owner scrape together a huge pile of cash for a marketing campaign, then pray that it works. Hundreds of thousands of businesses, large and small, are leveraging social networks to lure new customers, often at virtually no cost. And unlike most traditional advertising, social networking can pay dividends for years to come because it forges a strong link between you and consumers, enabling your biggest fans to become evangelists for your business.
Internet social networks allow entrepreneurs to build their business one customer at a time. It’s the same as having a “street team” pounding the pavement for you. Just as your street team might pass out fliers about a show or new product, your MySpace friends can forward the same type of information using electronic messages to a much larger audience.
When you’re successful, your loyal customers begin spreading the word for you, generating true word of mouth. Entrepreneurs can no longer depend on interruption-based ads, such as commercials and junk mail, which force consumers to stop what they’re doing and pay attention. But with social networking, you can influence these consumers precisely at the point where they’re engaged.
In the old days, with postal direct mail or telephone cold-calling, your chance of getting a response from someone who didn’t know you was about 2 percent — and that’s if you had a big marketing budget and were doing everything right. But today, the social-networking skills described in this book can result in response rates of 80 percent or more.
What are you waiting for? Put these revolutionary ideas to work today!