It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand we live in a social networking world.
Businesses of all sizes have quickly caught on to the importance of having a presence at websites like MySpace and Facebook for a number of reasons. From the sheer volume of traffic these sites attract to the demographic diversity of their users, smart marketing professionals consider social networking a significant part of their branding efforts.
Contrary to popular belief, having a substantial presence at a site like MySpace, for example, doesn't necessarily require a substantial budget. As a matter of fact, there are a number of easy-to-follow marketing tips businesses can follow to have a commanding MySpace presence, for pennies on the dollar.
1. Create a MySpace Layout that showcases your business.
A clean and attractive MySpace layout that includes your company name and a description of your products and services is essential in marketing yourself to the MySpace crowd.
When you consider that one of the most popularly searched phrases on the Internet today is “MySpace Layouts”, you'll understand just how important this tip is. Aside from the popularity of social networking itself, the second fastest growing trend is customization, or the art of being able to decorate your profile with cool layouts, backgrounds, pictures, graphics and video and music applications that convey your likes and dislikes and, in essence, your overall personality to the friends who visit your page.
It's no different if you're a business. Posting a layout to your MySpace page, one that clearly conveys who you are and what you do, speaks volumes to the people visiting your profile – people who may very well become your customers.
Look online to find websites that offer custom layouts and incorporate your company's information and graphics into the elements of your layout design, including backgrounds, extended network banners and boxes within the layout such as contact tables. Whatever you do, keep it simple. Cluttered and confusing layouts lose their branding effectiveness.
2. Add MySpace friends who fit the demographic profile of your customers.
MySpace has a nifty feature that allows you to browse for friends by age, gender and relationship status. Use this tool to locate friend prospects that fit the demographic profile of your target customers and reach out to those prospects with friend requests. When you add friends who you believe will be most interested in learning of and receiving information about your products and services, you increase your chances of gaining new customers through targeted marketing.
Be sure to communicate important company news such as discounts and special deals or the launch of new products and services to your MySpace friends as often as you can, in a reasonable manner. Keep in mind MySpace has safeguards in place to prevent spamming.
3. Work your MySpace profile.
Having a MySpace profile that features your business is one thing, “working” that profile so it works for your business is something completely different.
Assign someone within your company to manage your profile on a daily basis. It's important that they add friends, post comments, post bulletins, write blog articles and send and receive messages. Don't assume that by creating a MySpace profile, millions of people will find you. The art of social networking is just that – networking socially within a site like MySpace by reaching out, making friends and interacting with those friends as often as possible.
Also, aside from foul language or inappropriate content, don't be afraid to allow people to post public comments about your organization on your MySpace page. A big draw for social networking is the ability to be real, to speak your mind and say how you feel. If you allow only positive comments about your business to be posted, you lose credibility. But if you allow people to speak their minds, you gain credibility while learning a lot about your customers – and your business – in the process.
4. Let your MySpace friends become your own marketing army.
Certain MySpace customization websites like SpaceGravy.com (http://www.SpaceGravy.com) for example, now offer a service where they will create layouts and other designs, such as backgrounds, extended network banners, contact tables, graphics, glitter graphics and flash widgets, that feature a particular business, product or service (in this case, up-and-coming bands). These designs, showcased prominently throughout SpaceGravy.com, are available for free download to any MySpace, MyYearBook, Xanga, Friendster or Virb user.
Not only do participating bands get excellent marketing exposure at SpaceGravy.com, they get excellent marketing exposure from the various social networking users who customize their profiles with the band's layouts. Aside from bands, virtually any type of small or large business can take advantage of this service.
Bottom line – by offering free MySpace designs that feature your business, your MySpace friends, and MySpace users in general, become your very own marketing army.
5. Use MySpace Ads.
MySpace Ads, similar to Google AdSense, allows you to promote your business by targeting your advertising to MySpace users for a fraction of the cost of traditional online advertising.
MySpace Ads is an online advertising program available through MySpace that allows you to create ads featuring your business, target those ads to a specific group of MySpace users you choose based on demographics information, spend only the money you want based on your budget, and then closely monitor the performance of your campaign with detailed reporting provided through your MySpace Ads account.
Depending on the size and specifications, you can use your own ads or use MySpace's pre-made ad templates and you never pay more than the budget you originally determine at the outset of the campaign, according to the company.
Businesses on a budget should consider MySpace Ads as an affordable online advertising alternative.
Source by Jennifer Lange