Social networks have become useful tools for businesses looking to market their products and services. eMarketer estimates that Facebook will have $4 billion in ad revenues worldwide in 2011 and Twitter will attract $150 million in spending. Also, worldwide social network spending is expected to reach nearly $6 billion in 2011. With these types of numbers, it's clear businesses are finding many ways to use social networking to their advantage.
Marketing is one of the biggest advantages of social networking for a business. There are lots of ways to use social media to market your business. For example, develop a Facebook fan page to keep customers in the loop about important brand updates. Create a YouTube channel to showcase your product features and benefits. Blendtec, a company that develops high-powered blenders, created a series of videos showing people grinding up golf balls, cell phones and iPads in their blenders. The videos became a hit and spread virally, with over 156 million views as of March 2011.
Another advantage of using social networking is that you can recruit talented employees for your business. Use Twitter to post a message about an open position at your company. Or, network with job seekers on LinkedIn to recruit talent to your business. People who frequently use social networks can be an asset to your company because they are adept with technology.
Another advantage of using social networking sites in business is the level of acceptability and relationship-building they can bring to your business. If you have an existing customer you engaged on a social networking site, you increase your chances of having that customer become a "fan" of your page or add you to their friends list. Build relationships with customers on LinkedIn by adding them to your network and engaging in conversations about your brand online.
Customer Service and Feedback
Using social networking websites to increase your customer service and gather feedback from customers is another advantage. Create a form on your Facebook or link to a form on your website that allows customers to voice their concerns and complaints. Post a survey on your Facebook page or a link to a survey on your Twitter account to gather customer feedback about a new product or service idea.