Online social networking is quickly becoming an integral part of everyday life for millions of people today (check out the recent 2009 Nielsen study). How can your business benefit by using this popular technology? One important way is to use social networking to give your list-building efforts a jump-start. Here we share two main FulcrumTech strategies for doing just that.
Social Networking Is Hot
Social networks are online communities where people who share similar interests and/or activities can interact via email, blogging and instant messaging. Social networks give people a convenient way to connect and reconnect with friends, classmates, and work colleagues. The following statistics for some of the hottest social networks demonstrate how popular this technology is today:
- LinkedIn: Covering the professional market, this site has over 36 million members and about 7.7 million unique visitors per month. (A Collection of Social Network Stats for 2009)
- Facebook: This site claims the fastest-growing demographic of people 30 years and older, with more than 175 million users, 54 million monthly unique visitors, from than 180 countries. (Facebook Statistics)
- MySpace: With a primarily younger audience, this site has 76 million members and is growing at a rate of about 0.8% per month. The average MySpace user spends about 4.4 hours every month at the site. (A Collection of Social Network Stats for 2009)
- Twitter: This is a mass text-messaging service that lets users send "tweets" – 140-character updates – to lots of people at one time. Twitter boasts 6 million unique visitors per month, up from 1.2 million just 1 year ago. (Wall Street Journal, Mar 7-8, 2009)
Strategy #1: Participate in Social Networking, a Powerful List-Building Tool
More and more people are using social networking today, which means many of your customers are, too. Providing an effective way to reach your target audience, social networks are quickly becoming a powerful list-building tool for marketers. Here are some important ways you can use social networks to help build your list:
- Include your company’s Web site address when you set up your profiles at social networking sites.
- Provide direct links to your newsletter subscription landing pages. If you have a newsletter, it’s a valuable list-building opportunity.
- Blog and share your blog posts. This is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. And it’s easy to do because many of the social networks – including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter – have tools that can link to your blog and automatically post it.
- Build relationships with your customer. Be sure not to focus too much on promotion while social networking. Get to know your customers and let them get to know you. By building relationships and trust, you’ll also build a list of loyal customers.
Strategy #2: Drive Traffic by Creating Your Own Social Network
By taking a leadership role and sponsoring a social network for your target market, you can reap tremendous rewards. As the sponsor, your name is prominent to all who participate, generating consistent awareness building of your name and brand. Furthermore, not only will a social network position your company to be in the midst of the “pulse” of the market, but it will also demonstrate a commitment to your customers and the industry, generating long-term value and loyalty. Finally, with permission from your audience, you can leverage the growing base of users for appropriate and relevant marketing efforts that support your business model and members’ interests. In essence, the social network becomes a list-building effort in and of itself.
Case Study: FulcrumTech Develops a Social Network for Physical Therapy Professionals
As an example, FulcrumTech recently developed a social network specifically for physical therapy professionals. Our client, the leading healthcare publishing firm F. A. Davis, was looking for ways to extend its current educational market beyond students and schools. FulcrumTech worked with F. A. Davis to conceptualize a comprehensive online business strategy, focusing on physical therapists, to achieve this goal. The result, DavisPTnetwork is a combination of social networking, online continuing education, and a number of other complementary offerings.
The DavisPTnetwork social network signifies a clear commitment by F. A. Davis to the physical therapy market and the many authors who publish with F. A. Davis. While sponsoring the creation of the social network and the growing set of online continuing-education offerings, F. A. Davis is further establishing its leadership position in this market while giving back tremendous value to its many constituents. And, as membership in DavisPTnetwork grows, more physical therapists have access to the quickly growing base of affordable continuing education offerings, driving revenue to support the new online offerings. See the press release.
Less than 1 month after being introduced at a major conference for physical therapists, DavisPTnetwork already has over 300 registered members, and membership is growing weekly. Click here to read more about the social networking strategy of this FulcrumTech Case Study.
As you consider ways to use social networks to build your list and market your business, establishing a solid strategy is the first step. FulcrumTech can help. Click here or give us a call today at 215-489-9336 to discuss specific ways FulcrumTech can help you determine the best strategies to reach your target market.