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What does it mean to be "social"?

pda30321865.jpgIf you are ready to branch out of the dark ages of marketing and move into the social world, you need to learn more than just Facebook and Twitter. Getting social online means you need to listen to your customers, interact with them, and generate the right type of response you need from them in order to offer value to your customers through your posts.

Here are some things you need to know about getting social online:
1. Know the different between social networking and social bookmarking.
2. Understand what social recommendation is and how it can help your company
3. Learn the importance of social content sites.
4. Find out which social media sites your customers frequent and how you can use these sites to your advantage.

Social networking is a term that is thrown around a lot. What is social networking exactly? When you sign up with Facebook, Myspace, and LinkedIn you are using social networking sites. These sites are built to help you connect with others. Most people search for old friends on these sites and they use them to find potential employers and grow their networks. Some people use these sites to learn about their favorite companies and earn discount codes and other things. People that frequent social networking sites tent to have similar interests and it provides businesses with a wonderful opportunity to connect with their customers.

Social bookmarking is quite different from social networking. With social bookmarking you usually organize your favorite sites and keep them all organized in a similar place. You want to tag these sites for similar keywords that are relevant to your companies needs. People that use social bookmarking sites like Furl and like to share links and other things with others, which is great for businesses.

Digg is becoming very popular as it is considered a social recommendation site. This site tends to combine the best of social networking and social bookmarking and it is used by the serious "social" users. With Digg you will be able to generate a list of sites you want to recommend and it also generates sites for you based on your preferences and other things. They are tailored to meet the needs of specific audiences so it's great for businesses that market to a smaller niche market.

Social content sites are also quite popular with the social customers. Sites like YouTube and Flickr are continuing to grow in popularity and they provide businesses with a unique opportunity to create videos and brand their business. Content sites tend to be sharing sites, which is a great way to build links back to your website as you are posting comments on pictures and videos.

There are a number of other social realms you need to learn about when you are getting your business started with social media. Blogging is just as popular as some of the social media sites and businesses have found that social media gives you a great opportunity to establish a name and build your reputation. Post frequently on your blog and make sure the content you post is engaging and provides value to your customers or you will lose their interest in your company.

Social media sites offer a number of opportunities to become productive. You have the chance to learn about the buying patterns of your customers and you will be able to reach them in a new way as you engage in conversations with them. Customers can easily appreciate how responsive your company is to the needs of their customers as you are finally offering customers insight to your company and not always being just about the sale and growing profits.

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