How to Market Your Business Using Social Networking

Effectively marketing your business by using social networking sites has become as important today, as having business cards was 20 years ago. But as social media sites continue to evolve, and bring in more and more people every year, the inability of using these sites effectively can be extremely detrimental to your business. As these sites continue to grow, many companies are using these opportunities to cut costs, and bring in new clientele. So how can your company begin to learn how to use social networking effectively and how exactly can it be used to grow your business?

The effective use of social networking sites can significantly help your company to improve its public image and make it more accessible to your clients. Having public profiles accessible to your clients and potential customers, gives your business a chance to interact with its customers like never before. The use of social networking sites will significantly improve the reach and visibility of your business and services, at little or no cost to your business. You will have more chances to introduce new products and services, while simultaneously being able to receive feedback on whether the ideas are working or not.

The use of social networking sites can provide your business with an alternative to the big budget marketing of the past. You will no longer need to spend thousands and thousands of dollars every year marketing your product to the masses. Social networking sites now offer your company a free alternative, by being able to market your products and services to as many people as you want, absolutely free. All you need to do is to register with the site, create a public profile, and start adding contacts. Getting in touch with potential clients through the use of social networking sites can help save your business money, as well as establish a new level of trust between you and your clients.

Social networking sites provide you with access to forums and discussion boards, from where you can talk about your services and products, as well as interact with potential clients about these products and services. It allows them a chance to get to know your company better, and provides a much better way to properly understand their needs as customers. It gives them opportunities to send you questions as well as feedback about new or existing services, and gives them an opportunity to know your business on a more personal level. This can be a great advantage to your business, as well as cut a huge amount of cost.

By maintaining constant communication with your clients and customers you are helping your business to grow in ways you never thought possible. Not only are you saving money on free advertising and marketing, but you are meeting people as well, people who can help your business grow, as well as building possible, invaluable business contacts down the line. But most importantly you are making yourself accessible to clients and getting to know them better and understanding their needs as customers. Properly understanding your customers' needs is the key to understanding exactly what to do to properly satisfy them.

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Social Networking Tool – Eight Tips on Choosing an Effective Domain Name

Finding your niche domain name is a major stumbling block for many individuals as so many of the most popular domain names have already been taken.  If you are new to the Internet game, your domain is a unique identifier for a particular URL (Uniform Resource Locator).  The URL is your web address and becomes the center of your identity or personal branding.

Many things must be considered when determining your domain name as it becomes your brand and establishes a roadmap to your site.  The best advice is to be actively creative and not be discouraged when looking for a name.  Always bare in mind that your domain name represents both you and/or your business.  It is extremely important that you choose your domain name carefully.

Nailing Down Your Domain Name

Start by thinking of your ideal domain name and then throw out as many words and combinations of words related to that ideal name as possible. The key is to start to brainstorm a long list of possibilities and come up with something that is uniquely your own.  Bounce some ideas to your friends, family, and anyone that will listen. If you are having difficulty in determining a name, use your dictionary and thesaurus on your computer and play with words. Sooner or later something will come to mind and you find a potential domain name and that may work for you.

Based on my research the following are eight key things to consider when choosing your domain name:

Get a “. com” Extension – The first question you will face when considering registering a domain is what ending or extension do you want.   The “.com” extension, in my opinion is best if it is for your primary website.  I have used the “.org” extension for a society website that I developed several years ago.  Again, it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

As you do your research you will notice other domain extensions such as: “.net,” “.biz,” and “.info,” just to name a few.  There are some new country-specific extensions that can be an advantage if you are marketing to a niche within a specific country.

Based on what I have  learned, you should register a domain name with the extension “.com” for personal or business branding and “.org” for an organization as most people are accustomed to that web site address ending.  I used the “.net” extension for one of my websites.  I found the name using “.com” was not available and the “.net” ranked as well as the “.com.”  At this stage, it is your choice on what you want to do, based on what works best for your website or desired application.

Easy to Remember –  The key is to pick a name that, when someone reads or hears your website name for the first time, they can easily remember the name.  Of course, there is often a give and take between trying to find a name that is easily understood and one that is “brandable”.

The easier your domain is to type into a browser, the better chance people will remember it.  Think about the “elevator talk.”   Can you convey your message in a few seconds or at a glance?

Andrew Carnegie put it nicely when he said: “Quality is the most important factor in business”. A friend of mine says “A picture in the head is worth more than a word in the ear.”

Try to Make your Domain Relevant to your Chosen Keywords  – If you are trying to reach a particular niche, consider including at least one or two of your important selected “keywords” in your name.

One way to research is to determine which of the keywords or keyword combinations are searched for most often.  Various free and paid programs will allow you to conduct this search. Knowing where your chosen keywords rank should make your selection decision a little easier.

Keep the Name short, if Possible – Try to keep your name as short as possible and still get your website message out. (Not including the suffix “http://www”.)

Consider avoiding words such as “best”, “top”, and “number 1” and do not use intentional misspellings.  These can confuse and lower rankings.

If all of the desired domains names are taken, add a short word to make it unique.  You can do this by testing different combinations of your chosen name.  For example, add the word “my” in front of the domain name if appropriate.  You can check the names of domains at the registrar that you have chosen.

Try to Avoid Hyphens and/or Numbers –  Some experts suggest that if you use hyphens and/or numbers there are a lot more chances for people to make mistakes when trying enter the name in your browser.  The person may forget to add the hyphens and/or numbers and will view the wrong site.   Again, it is your choice to decide what works for you.

What is your Budget – You can usually register a new domain name for less than $10 – $15 per year.

One May Not Be Enough – It may not be a bad idea to register several similar domain names,  depending on your budget.  If you have your “.com”, you may want to register “.net” or “.org” version so no one else can take it.  The best advice is only purchase the domains that you need, unless you intend on becoming a domain broker!

Avoid Trademarked Names –   A trademark is “a name or symbol officially registered to a third party, and unless otherwise specified, the trademark owner is the only party that can legally make use of a trademarked name.” This mistake is not made very often, but can create potential legal issues.

To ensure that you are not infringing on any copyright with your domain name, visit the International Trademark Association or the US Government Copyright Office websites that handle Copyright and Trademark information.  It is a good practice to search for your selected name before you buy.

Do not Forget the New Mobile Names – You may consider registering a “.mobi”  type domain name.   Again, it all goes back to the budget.

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Business Networking – Tips for Shy People Who Want to Meet Clients at Networking Events

Do you hesitate about going to business networking events because you find it difficult to approach people? Do you end up hanging around with your colleagues, and never meet anyone new?

If you consider yourself a shy person, you’re not alone. Studies show that over 40 percent of adults feel nervous about meeting new people. One survey showed that about 75 percent of people feel uncomfortable at business and social events. Perhaps this is because our parents always told us not to talk to strangers when we were young. But we all know the importance of networking in meeting clients.

Tips for meeting clients at business networking events:

o The best secret for shy people is that most people are worried themselves about being rejected. They’re not judging you. We’ve all been rejected at one time or another, and the feeling remains for a long time. But in business situations most people are interested in connecting with others. That’s why they go to networking events.

o To increase your chances of success, look for a person standing alone. Approach that person with a smile on your face. Extend your hand, and introduce yourself. You are almost guaranteed a warm welcome because you’ll be rescuing the person from standing alone.

o If you can’t find a person standing along, look around at the different groups in the room. Take a moment to study their body language. Don’t approach two people who are engaged in conversation – they might be having a private talk.

o Find a group where the people look like they are enjoying themselves and are having a light-hearted conversation. Approach the group and try to make eye contact with someone. Once you make eye contact, people usually part to let you in. Then you can extend your hand and say: Hi, I’m (your name). If you can’t make eye contact, wait or look for another group.

o It’s fine to introduce yourself in this way. Most people have been in your shoes, or are in your shoes at that moment, and will empathize. After introducing yourself, ask about the function, and if they have been there before. If you don’t know what to say you can simply ask: How’s business?

o Remember to be sincere, smile, make eye contact and show interest by listening. Expect acceptance and you will be accepted

You are invited to use these tips to help you meet clients at business networking events.

SixDegrees – Social Networking In Its Infancy

When most of us think about online social networks, we most probably think about Facebook. Facebook is by far the most popular social networking site we have today with 500 million Facebook users.

However, Mark Zuckerberg was definitely not the first person to ever have built a social network – he was just the first to succeed in the way that he did.

In truth, one of the first social networks to really take off, was named

It was founded by Andrew Weinreich, a well known entrepreneur & internet executive. Weinreich started his career working as a financial analyst and after a short while, went back to school to study law. He worked as a legal professional for 2 years. It was during this time that he devised the concept of an online social network which made the process of “meeting people you don’t know through the people you do know” more efficient.

It was in 1997 that he launched Sixdegrees. At it’s peak, the site had 3,500,000 users and 100 employees. Weinreich later sold the site to Youthstream Media Networks in December 2000 for US$125 million. Weinreich is currently the CEO of meetMoi – a location based mobile dating service, as well as the chairman of Xtify, a platform for geo-targeted mobile messaging.

Sixdegrees was based on the web of contacts type of social networking. Weinreich drew his inspiration from the theory that every person in the world is connected to every other person by not more than six steps, otherwise known as the the concept of “six degrees of separation”. It was also the first social networking site to combine features found on other dating sites & community sites into one. Users could create personal profiles, set up friend lists and surf friend lists belonging to other users within their network. They could send each other messages, affiliate themselves with networks as well as send their family & friends invitations to become members of Sixdegrees.

Writing this now in 2010, none of this seems that impressive. However, back in 1997, no other site offered a combination of these features.

Unfortunately, Sixdegrees did not last very long, and it certainly didn’t leverage the popularity or support that a site such as Facebook has today. There were a number of reasons that contributed to the failure of this social network:

1) At the time, web technology was not yet developed to the point where it was able to support the features that were needed to make this kind of application successful;

2) Despite their 3,500,000 registered users, Sixdegrees couldn’t accumulate the amount of users needed before their money ran out;

3) The features available to Sixdegrees users were not as engaging as they could have been & failed to keep their users coming back;

4) Factors which were outside of the company’s control had a detrimental effect on it’s ability to make a profit from online advertising. These events included a post-April 2000 recession, as well as 9/11, and;

5) The online advertising industry was not mature enough to provide enough online advertisers to support their business model.

Factors 4 & 5 probably contributed the most to their downfall, however, Sixdegrees marked the beginning of a new era in online communication & networking. Despite it’s short-lived success, it paved the way for the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn and many more.