With the arrival of social media (blogs, RSS, social bookmarking, social networking etc), marketers are now presented with a rich set of tools helping them to generate new business and increasing their income. The best way to look at social media, is to view it as a means to an end. In other words a tunnel which opens up to other access points. These gateways can then be leveraged to create content, connection and community. Additional benefits can also result in lead generation, nurturing and conversion.
What Are These Access Points?
Blogging – Enhances all forms of content creation, drives traffic, facilitating the start of connection and community in the form of comments and conversation.
RSS – Drives the spreading, filtering and aggregating of ideas and content. RSS technology has the ability to make content more useful.
Social Bookmarking – These sites primary objective are to promote ideas and reward participants for creativity and consistency.
Social Networking/ Media – The recent rise in popularity of sites like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Swom, Twitter and PeopleString clearly points to the desire for community. However, while the meeting place may be in cyberspace, certain rules must still be applied.
Social networking may be a new experience for many individuals but if your goal is to establish yourself as an influencer of an existing network, you must first be prepared to earn the right. Mostly by giving, helping, guiding and building relationships without overt effort to cash-in. The long-term can be very fruitful, with patience you will make new connections, improving your visibilty and increase sales.
The next wave in social networking is the personalized niche built community. There are some emerging tools that make this idea very practical, but creating your own community will require investment in terms of time and resources. In the hand of an entrepeneur, it can develop into the ultimate marketing tool.