Find Business Grants
Graphic image of letter A

Social Networking - Who Needs It?

You already know you need to get more involved in marketing your business online, and you can't have failed to notice social networks Twitter, YouTube and Facebook being mentioned on TV and other, more 'traditional' media.

You already know you need to get more involved in marketing your business online, and you cant have failed to notice social networks Twitter, YouTube and Facebook being mentioned on TV and other, more traditional media.

This article focuses on some of the reasons why you need to be involved in networking online (Ill be using the terms online networking and social networking interchangeably).

Social Networking isnt going away
Do you remember the days before we had Emails? When we used to rely on posting letters, or sending faxes? Sending and receiving messages by email is almost instantaneous, compared to waiting for the postman to deliver important documents - the next day!

And with social networks we can now communicate with hundreds and thousands of people all around the world, simply by typing our thoughts onto the keyboard of whatever device were using, hitting send and our message is out in cyberspace, instantly.

Every generation is embracing online networking. Grandparents & parents use sites like Facebook to keep in touch with families far away, teenagers share photographs, music and videos with friends, news junkies get the latest stories literally as they happen, not to mention the many thousands of us who connect with people who share similar interests.

I think its safe to say social networking is here to stay.

The internet has changed
In the early days of the internet only large corporations with deep pockets could afford a website. Now theres no excuse for not having an online presence – especially with so many free options available.

With Web 2.0 everyone has the ability to interact, to answer back and to communicate our opinions – through forums, blogs and of course, the social networks. Anyone can ask questions on Twitter or LinkedIn and expect helpful & informed answers.

As a customer service tool, the social networks are invaluable. Now customers can tell a very large audience exactly what they think of a service or product – instantly.

The way people buy (and do business) has changed
There was a time when, if you wanted to arrange a special meal out youd ask a family member, friend or neighbour if they could recommend a nice restaurant. Or youd look under restaurants in the phone book and take pot luck.

Now people are more likely to search the internet and to read the online reviews from previous customers before making their choice.

The major supermarkets are now vying for the opportunity to deliver the grocery shopping, at a time thats convenient to you, and even carry it right into your kitchen! Such a service is a boon for busy working mums and for people who find going out to the shops difficult.

What this all means is prospective customers are likely to do at least some research using the internet when theyre looking for the type of products or services you provide, than to rely on the Yellow Pages or other printed publications.

Using social networks, companies can spread the word quickly about, for example, special offers or new product launches, and drive more interested traffic to their websites and stores. Loyal and delighted customers will help by sharing their experiences on Twitter & Facebook, and perhaps even on their blogs.

Social networking works for local businesses too
For the reasons above, local businesses definitely need to take part in social networking. If youve always relied on word of mouth to get more business, then social networking is word of mouth – on steroids!

Imagine you own a local car hire or taxi firm, youre on Twitter and monitoring whats being tweeted about your local area. Suddenly, a tweet shows up from someone stuck at the station or airport because their lift hasnt turned up. You can immediately tweet back with an offer to help. Not only may your firm get the business, but everyone who follows that person will have seen your offer too – what great publicity!

This will work just as well for many other local businesses. Think of hotels, restaurants, florists, specialist shops, bakers, garages, accountants, solicitors... the list is limited only by your imagination!

There you have 4 reasons why your business needs to be involved in online networking. We hope to have persuaded you of some of the benefits and to connect with you on the social networks soon!

© Savvy Marketers, 2011
About Savvy Marketers
Sam McArthur and Louise Barnes-Johnston are the Savvy Marketers! For a free copy of "The Ultimate Small Business Guide to Marketing via the Internet" visit:

We offer internet marketing strategy, consultancy and training to small professional service businesses and e-commerce sites. Our combined experience and expertise covers areas including: social media marketing, search engine marketing, blogging & email marketing.


Guest Articles Welcomed

As we cannot be experts in every relevant subject, we would love to receive 'guest' articles that may be of interest to anyone running their own business or thinking of doing so. ADD YOUR ARTICLE