Fast Company

Your Online DNA, Social Networking for Business

Greetings and salutations from the front lines of a new product launch. Since we visited last your author has gone through another of life's professional changes. During May of this year, I transitioned into the role of President for a small but growing software development firm. The company has a 12 year history in custom applications, development projects, and a world wide team of programmers managed by one of the sharpest guys I have ever known.  I am responsible for building the brand and delivering to market one of the company's most exciting products yet....an automated trading system or "Expert Advisor " to the foreign exchange market.

We have been discussing the role online social networking plays in business over the last months and specifically the last two posts. In review, we discussed different platforms and then began to learn that the online arena provided an opportunity to control one's online DNA to a certain extent. The general rule of thumb online is not different than that of offline, if you do right by people, take care of yourself, and others, you will have a clean reputation. If you do wrong, lie, cheat, steal or misrepresent, you will have a bad local reputation. The same holds true for online environments. This may seem obvious but the point is this...since you don't control the servers that house what someone else says about you and your company, the best you can do in life online is to do the right thing. Okay, that's covered, now to the point.

I thought is appropriate to share a real example of how social networking for business applied to us and our company recently. I have a presence personally on perhaps a half a dozen social networking sites. Fast Company included. The traffic that landed on the websites of my previous employer was a full 35% provided by the organic traffic that came from people viewing my profiles, blogs, links, and so on on the social networking sites, I propagated. Upon my departure, that traffic left. Those inquiries went away and within one week, where do you think they began to land? You got it right, they landed whereever I sent them.

This leads me to a more than avid interests in what companies and their employees are doing in the social networking space. If a company is made up of people and people seek to connect, are there opportunities for businesses in the social networking space that surround marketing outside the traditional arenas? I think so. When you now search the name of my new employer, my social networking links will at some point come up in the search. When you google me specifically, the new employer is very well represented. The power of organic traffic potential from your own profiles may be profound, especially if you blog, write, contribute to an online community or work to facilitate local groups through meetup.com.

Our newly launched product line will be introduced in great part through an online widget that makes the video, blog, forum, and feedback all viral. We're equipping users with automated ways to propagate the "experience" of the product's use into their current social networking portals so eyeballs over which we would never have had access see the product and view its message. The entire marketing plan is taking into consideration the social networking space as it relates to the launch of the product. It all begins with online networking. What may have once been about a casual discussion over a shared interest now includes the granular ability to drill down on spacific networking requests. I am even using one of the networks, linkedin.com to request a connection in the reinsurance market. With millions of users, the likely connection to someone that may assist is highly probable.

Business networking online works. Check out my friend's company, http://goyodeo.com. Goyodeo received a short review and shout out from a social networking blogger many in the industry know and follow. The review and recommendation went out to 10,000 recipients in one of the blogger's networks. Of the 10,000 who received the message, a full 3500 adopted the tool, used the widget, and began to build their profiles within the Goyodeo platform. A phenomenal 35% participation rate out of the first recommendation. Nowhere else in marketing is that type of result possible.

You and your team should be prioritizing social networking for business as part of your marketing, sales, and public relations plan. If you need assistance, contact me. I'll be glad to assist and share resources.

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