Brand or Die!

A Small Business Survival Guide

The Social Networking for Business Project, or... "I donated my business for science."

For the last couple of weeks, I've been conducting an experiment in the use of social media for business. A lot of talk is going on about the value of social networking sites as a grass roots way to market yourself. As a Ruthless Marketing Guru, I felt it was my duty to take it out of the realm of theory and make some practical analysis of it's true value.

Most people still think of Myspace and Facebook and others as simply toys for the young. But there is a real power in social media that, if used properly, represents real marketing potential. Having said that, it is not the medium for everyone (but we'll get to that later)

For the purposes of my experiment, I decided to really dig in to these sites and find out what treasures might lie within. I was familiar enough with most of them, but beyond the broad, common benefits, I wanted to find the less known benefits, if there were any to find. The results of my experiment were surprising to me, and I got a lot of useful information that I'll share on the blog in the days ahead. For this first post, I wanted to lay some foundation about the use and value of social networking.

Before you go off half-cocked and jump on every site you can find, you must first determine what the goals of your strategy will be. This is a basic planning step that for some reason is usually skipped when attempting internet marketing. But just like any marketing strategy, there should be measurable goals that determine whether it was successful or not. Are you looking to drive more traffic to your website? How much more? Are you looking for appointments or calls to your office? What about foot traffic? Whatever it is, you should have a clear and realistic goal for what you're undertaking, so that you can judge its effectiveness.

What types of social media will you use? There are several to choose from. There's Digg, Facebook, Myspace, StumbleUpon, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, (getting tired yet?) YouTube and others. Then there's blogging... *whew*

So as you can see, if you don't know what you're getting into and why, it's easy to get confused or even worse...waste valuable time.

So stay with me and we'll take this journey together. At the end of it, I might add you as a friend on Facebook...

Go forth and be ruthless!

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