By this time, nearly every Freelancer has hopped onto the social networking 2.0 bus. As a matter of fact, a large cohort of Americans has established an online presence in some fashion, possibly even your grandparents. Your loyal Diarist can be found on LinkedIn.
Still, among Freelancers and other business owners, nagging little doubts about the meaning of all this will sometimes surface in our conversations. What does social networking really do for business? Have you ever gotten so much as a referral, let alone an actual piece of business, through social networking? Do you know anyone who has? What is the ROI on 2.0?
It appears that much depends upon the business you are in. Are 12-25 year olds your target market? Are you an athlete or a rock musician looking to build and connect with a fan base? Are you an author of books aimed at the teen and young adult market, trying to grow your book sales? Do you operate a retail business that sells clothing, anime or video games to the teen and ‘tween crowd? Then MySpace is where you want to be, because this is where your target market hangs out.
Visual and performing artists of all types, plus restaurants and nightclubs, most often gravitate to Facebook. This site is also popular for personal networking, providing a nice way to stay connected to family and friends. Facebook is about the visual. Here you can post photos of your latest group of paintings or sculptures; display the bar scene on Tuesday nights at your establishment; or show off pix of your new haircut, the baby, or your new puppy. Maybe you sent out Thanksgiving greetings to those you have “friended” and will do the same at Christmas and the New Year.
To create in the moment on the ground buzz, go to Twitter. You can put the word out about performances at your nightclub, special events at your store, book signings, the waves in Perth, Australia or skateboarding at the Xtreme Games. Wine shops can announce tastings and let customers know that Beaujolais Nouveau c’est arrive.
I even read about a woman in Belfast, Ireland who tweets these great recipes. In 140 characters, she will hook you up with good ideas for dinner! Twitter is best used to augment the connections you’ve made on MySpace and Facebook with microblogging. Here’s how to keep your young, short attention span crowd in the loop about interesting happenings at your business that will keep your business at top of mind.
More 2.0 next week,