How Valuable is Social Networking to a Company?
The value of a social networking campaign can be measured by the level of engagement and quality of feedback received per individual.
One popular misconception in the social networking environment is that the number of followers, friends or those "liking" your profile is a reflection of the success of your social networking campaign.
There have recently been an increase in the number of companies offering to generate followers for your twitter account. While some of these companies do help increase the number of followers the actual results, meaning the actual number of personal interactions that occurs is very low in comparison to the number of followers.
The problem is that it is fairly easy to accumulate followers, friends, likes and the sort from social networking websites because most of the participants are in it for the same reason. You should not expect much from connections made online unless the connection you make is a personal connection or one in which some type of interaction occurs at the start of the process. Otherwise you will simply join the multitude of companies offering one another a healthy dose of spam on a daily or even hourly basis.
What is the most valuable type of social networking?
The most valuable type of social networking is they type that extends the services of a company onto the preferred medium of their customers and clients. For instance, a company involved in selling products can connect with their customers through facebook to offer valuable links to information such as product specifications, share information regarding new and upcoming products, send out coupons and information about specials and offer a valuable communication channel.
In much the same way a company involved in sales or technical support can offer assistance to their clients via twitter or facebook. Rather than spamming their customers, companies can use social networking media to provide instant gratification to clients.
By using social networking media to provide valuable services companies can then accumulate quality connections and then use the same channels to occasionally market new products and services to an already engaged audience.
How much time and resources should be spent on social networking?
Every company should at least spend the initial time it takes to create social networking channels. Even if you do not believe that the investment is worth the effort it is still a good idea to at least have the presence. There are two main reasons for doing this. First of all you can be certain that some your competitors will invest the resources into their own social networking campaigns. Secondly, you may not have realized the potential that exists in a social networking campaign. In order to realize its potential a social networking campaign must at least exist. This will allow your customers and/or potential customers to make use of the connection if they so desire, in the end you may discover new ways of promoting your business and marketing to your customers from your customers themselves. You just never know what can happen.
How to manage a social networking campaign.
Managing a social networking campaign is easy and should only require a couple of hours of maintenance per week. If you are spending more time on it than that it should be because you are actively communicating with customers or potential customers, not wasting time trying to gain followers. Remember that it is not the quantity of connections but the quality of connections that matters.
If your company does not have the time or expertise to manage a campaign then you can find a marketing company to handle your campaign for your business. Depending on the level of your campaign you may need to hire a full time social networking professional to manage your campaign during business hours, this would normally cost the equivalent of one salaried employee per month or you may just require 2 - 3 hours per week of maintenance. You can find companies offering this type of service on an hourly basis usually totaling to approximately $250 per month. This is much cheaper than having someone handle your campaign in-house and often more effective as you are basically paying for skilled and experienced professionals to manage your campaign.