Social Networking For The Self-Employed
Social media is the fastest growing form of marketing in the world today, and for good reason. Over the past two decades the Internet has spread like wildfire, from the old 14.4k dial-up modem days to today, where high speed Internet access is available to most of the planet via the touch of a button on a cellular phone. And with the spread of the Internet has come more and more ways for people to communicate over it, from the pre-Internet BBS‘, through e-mail, mIRC, chat rooms, message boards, all the way up to services like Twitter and Facebook today. Each form of online communication carries its own strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly, each also carries its own unique ways of getting your business out to the masses.
Twitter has proven to be immensely effective at getting a business out there, which is surprising considering the 140 character limit imposed on each post. Popular sports entertainment entity WWE Inc. has recently integrated Twitter into their televised events, with various happenings over the course of each show becoming #1 trends worldwide within minutes, which means they are (at that particular moment) the most popular thing people are talking about on Twitter. You, as a self-employed individual without an international television deal, might have a tougher time hitting the #1 worldwide mark, but it remains an excellent networking and marketing tool, regardless of the size of your business. A Twitter account is a must for keeping people up to date on what you’re doing, when you’ll be launching a product, or even just for entertaining posts to get people talking about you and your business.
Facebook grew from a small start-up (much like what many of you will no doubt be doing) out of a Harvard dorm into a billion dollar entity, with over 901 million registered users worldwide. That’s over 901 million people that you could be reaching. Most people these days have a personal Facebook page, and probably with a fair few friends to boot, but a fan page/group is an excellent way to reach even more of Facebook’s huge user base.
Youtube is not only a great way to reach even more people, but it can also make you money on the side. Many people have turned what started as silly Youtube videos into their full-time jobs, and are doing quite well in the process. You may not have known this, but international singing sensation Justin Bieber actually got his start on Youtube, where his videos were discovered by talent manager Scooter Braun, who in turn put him in contact with multi-platinum recording artist Usher. The rest, as we say, is history. Of course, this may not be the path you wish to take, and this certainly doesn’t happen for everyone with a Youtube account. But Youtube has millions of members, and with proper tagging and interesting videos, you can increase your visibility substantially (and perhaps pull in some extra money in the process).
Of course, there is more to the web than the new social media. It remains essential for you to build and maintain a professional looking website, and a blog like this one gives you the opportunity to build an audience of your own. This, in turn, helps you increase your online visibility and maximize your Personal Independent Earnings. Your social network connections give you a place to build brand awareness and make connections, but it’s on your personal website that you can direct the attention and make your sales.
Another important tactic is proper Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Proper optimization of your website and all your social networking accounts can dramatically increase your hits all around, which means more business, and a bigger piece of PIE. The key is offering valuable, genuine content and taking care of your network connections. Google and the other search engines are smart enough to know you’re the real deal.
The Internet is a big, big place with a lot of people all vying for attention. Making use of all the tools at your disposal, including social networking, is without a doubt one of the keys to success. Make no mistake, social networking isn’t just for teenagers to kill time in class. It is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, and one that should not, under any circumstances, be ignored.