Can social networking actually work as an online marketing tool for your business?
Rock bands, country music stars and other performers use MySpace and similar social networking sites to promote their latest recordings and concert schedules. Charities, philanthropies, social causes, sports teams, animal rescue organizations and other non-profits employ social networking sites like MySpace to further their causes as well. Authors, public speakers and politicians also create MySpace pages to build popularity and support.
Increasingly, product promoters and other for-profit endeavors have turned to MySpace as a promotional tool too.
Certainly, a publicly accessible web presence with such a broad appeal as MySpace can be helpful for online promotion. How can you facilitate the marketing of your own business or cause through the use of MySpace?
Marketing with MySpace: Produce a Profile Page
The first step to marketing your business or cause with MySpace, whether you are a self-employed individual (such as a freelance writer) or part of a multi-employee organization, is to build a basic MySpace profile page.
Building a MySpace page for your business is actually quite simple to do. MySpace offers step-by-step instructions for basic profile page creation. Several free MySpace profile code sites provide countless themed designs for profile pages as well. A few examples include Ace Layouts, Free Code Source, Free Layouts Now, MySpace Geeks, Revolution MySpace and others.
Marketing with MySpace: Add Your Corporate Identity
Tailoring your MySpace profile page with your corporate identity graphics to promote your cause or company is easy too. First, you will need to locate your company logo or banner photo online. If you do not already have a website sporting your company logo or banner photo, you can upload the artwork as a photo or graphics file to any or several free online photo storage sites (such as Flicker, Kodak Gallery, Phanfare, Photobucket, Shutterfly, Snapfish and others).
Once you have uploaded your company logo or banner photo, simply right-click on the image. Choose and click “Copy Image Location.”
Using the “Edit Profile” feature on MySpace, locate the “http” code for the background image. Replace this by pasting the image location you just copied for your company logo or banner photo.
Once you have set up your MySpace page for your business, you can add banner ads, display boxes, product photos, company slogans, infomercial videos and other items of interest. (Just keep everything PG-rated to prevent MySpace banning.)
Voila! Your custom-made MySpace profile page is now complete and ready for marketing your business or organization online.
Next, you will need to begin adding “Friends.” MySpace offers the option of searching your existing e-mail lists to search for contacts who may already be MySpace users and inviting them to join you as an online Friend. This is MySpace’s term for an online contact.
Marketing with MySpace: Build a Blog
Each MySpace profile page contains the capability of producing a blog. Many online marketers use this device quite skillfully for introducing press releases, new organizational or product information, publication announcements, highlights of recent events, invitations to upcoming events and more.
MySpace offers simple step-by-step instructions for blog posts. External web links and graphics may be used. Of course, MySpace inserts a warning box for outside links, but users are permitted to approve and click on these to visit your website, news releases and other online sites outside of MySpace.
Marketing with MySpace: Post Pertinent Bulletins
Although a MySpace blog may be helpful, an even more visible tool is a MySpace bulletin. These postings are visible to all of a user’s MySpace friends.
In fact, many MySpace bloggers post MySpace bulletins to direct friends to recent blog posts.
Again, as with Myspace blog posts, the procedures for posting MySpace bulletins are quite simple, and MySpace offers easy instructions. Actually, users may simply cut-and-paste blog contents for creating bulletins. The formats are quite similar.
Marketing with MySpace: Form a Group
MySpace features an unlimited number of special-interest groups. From academic alumni clubs to political action groups, and from a jazz artist’s fans to jump rope contestants, MySpace seems to have a group for every cause or hankering.
The tricks to creating a successful MySpace group are simple: Build a fan base, and stay clear of spam. Blatant self-promotion is a sure route to banning in MySpace groups.
If you have a cause to tout or a product or service to publicize, you can certainly use MySpace groups to do it. Just try to incite thought-provoking discussions that interest people in reading and engaging in your subject. Aim for public relations, rather than advertising.
MySpace can be an extremely useful tool for online marketing, opening an entire audience of internet users to your products, services or cause. Using this promotional opportunity judiciously can pay off in promotional dividends.