What is Business Social Networking?
Business social networking involves the strategic use of online social networks to achieve certain business aims. The most notable social networks that businesses can join and use include:
Why Engage in Business Social Networking?
Social networking is a hot trend today. Many individuals use social networks to communicate with friends, family and other people around the world who share common interests and activities. In fact, social networking has become so popular that the Facebook social networking site alone has close to one billion active members. Not only that, it’s been found that most social networking users spend several of their leisure hours on the social network, and will check the social network several times in a day.
Due to the fact that social networks have such a large membership base worldwide and the members spend so many hours per day on these sites, businesses should learn how to use social networks effectively in order to reach out to their target market in a new way.
How Can Businesses Use Social Networking Effectively?
Businesses can implement the use of social networks for a number of goals. Here are just a few of them. It must be noted, however, that as social networking sites develop on the internet, the way in which businesses can use them is also changing and improving too.
The majority of social networking sites offer advertising opportunities for businesses to reach their target market. Businesses have an advantage if they advertise on social networks because generally they have the option to only pay if a member clicks on their ad, via the pay-per-click model.
Additionally, businesses will be able to target a specific niche market via social networks too. Some social networks only have members that are part of a niche demographic, thus, it would be worthwhile for a related business to advertise to that social network. Larger social networking sites also have the option for businesses to show their advertisements to people who fit a specific set of demographics and interests.
2. Word of Mouth
Businesses can use social networks to spread news, special deals and other kinds of content such as video, picture sand music. These can go viral as other people within the social network can also share the news and updates to their friends and connections.
3. Market Research
Many social networks also allow businesses to conduct various forms of market research within the social network site. Some websites, for instance, allow businesses to post polls or surveys that is displayed for a targeted niche to respond only.
4. Collaborative Product Development
One of the most innovative ways that social networks are being used by businesses today is through collaborative projects with their customers and other partners on a social network. Some businesses use a social network to ask for customer opinions about ideas, prototypes and updates for products, allowing more collaborative product design and development to occur.
5. Customer Service
Social networks can also be used by businesses as a forum for customer service and business information. Businesses can answer questions and feedback from customers, providing real time and easy access to the business.
6. Internal Communications
Apart from just connecting with the customer, some companies also use business social networking for the benefit of its employees. Businesses can create private groups within a social network so that employees can easily connect with each other online, in order to improve employee interaction and enhance the efficiency of group projects.