Small Firms Must Network Online to Build Their Brands

Bristol, (PressExposure) April 23, 2009 -- With research by Nielsen Online revealing that more than two-thirds of the world’s Internet population now visit social networking sites such as Facebook, experts have advised that using online communities to establish their brand is more important than ever for small firms.

Social networking sites are an essential way to get in front of people you want to communicate with, from customers, suppliers and the media to potential partners and employees, according to Lucy Whittington, director at Inspired Business Marketing and expert contributor to Marketing Donut, the essential marketing website for small businesses.

“The key thing to remember is they facilitate conversations and relationships - like any other form of networking - except that they are online and the reach is much wider,” says Whittington. “In most cases, the only cost is time, so for small businesses, they can be a cost-effective tool to increase visibility and in the long-term, sales.”

But it’s not all about selling, she warns. “It’s more about establishing yourself as a credible brand, or an expert in your field. For instance, you might use a site to write an intelligent blog about your industry sector. If people find it useful, they’ll recommend you, and you therefore build up your profile. Running special promotions and offers for followers can also create loyalty.”

So how can small firms get started? Firstly, think about how to reach your audience, Whittington says, by identifying which social networking site is right for your market, from business focused communities like LinkedIn and Ecademy to more relaxed, consumer sites like Facebook.

Searching for key words and phrases linked to your business will help give you an idea of demand. “If you find lots of groups talking about your product or industry on Facebook, for instance, it’s probably a good idea to get on the site,” she points out. “But remember, you don’t have to be on everything – stick to your marketing plan. If you’re selling mobility products aimed at the retirement age population, it’s unlikely that MySpace is going to be much help as its audience tends to be younger.”

Lastly, once you’ve become part of the social networking community, the number one rule is to be proactive. “It’s no good just being on there, and hoping you’re going to stay at the front of people’s minds. Update your status regularly, keep your blog fresh and get involved,” says Whittington. “There’s lots of help and advice on these sites, so if you’re open about being new, and needing help, you’ll easily start building relationships and your brand profile.”

Further information: Become a Marketing Donut expert by visiting the blog Find out how to join Marketing Donut here For more information on social networking, listen to Ecademy founder Penny Power’s advice on the Your Business Channel website Press Release Distribution By PressReleasePoint

Contact: Mick Dickinson BHP Information Solutions Ltd Bristol, UK Tel: 0044 (0)117 904 2224 Mob: 0044 (0)7816 680 266 []

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Small businesses should be using social networking sites like Facebook and Ecademy to build their brand online, according to marketing experts.

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Press Release Submitted On: April 22, 2009 at 4:51 am
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