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June 11, 2013

Networking Your Business and Harnessing Word of Mouth

business-network

Do you simply exist online or do you actually network with your audience? There is a big difference between being present and taking action. The latter is exactly what is necessary to network your business with the online world.

There are several mediums through which you can network your brand or business to the online world. Among these are social sites, blogs, websites, and even word-of-mouth sharing and referrals. However, it is how well you handle these mediums that will make or break your online marketing strategy and ultimately determine your success.

3 Things to Remember When Promoting Your Business Online

1. Be the first to share original and reliable content

Initially, sharing starts with you. After all, how else will the audience be able to learn about and refer you for themselves unless you present something they can talk about? Make your brand share-friendly and improve your visibility throughout the online world. When it comes to maintaining a brand’s visibility and share worthiness, writing blogs is one of the most effective methods. This is mostly because blogs can offer information designed to interest the potential audience.

Originality is where your own personal brand comes into play. Readers want something new and trending to read, not the same old stuff. While it can be helpful to share what’s popular right now, be sure that you add in your own original material, such as thoughts, ideas and proposals.

You need to keep your objective in mind; you want to demonstrate your expertise to gain the trust of the reader. Therefore, you need to use reliable facts and statistics (additional references will help those starting a fresh blog) that your readers can share themselves.

2. Be sure to interact with your audience

Do you interact with your audience? There are many brands that have their own social profiles but neglect them, especially if they don’t seem to be producing results.

In some cases, brands tend to use social networks to promote their brand much like a billboard or paid advertisement. But, there is more to these sites than just posting and waiting. It’s about posting and interacting with the audience.

The time of your audience is also valuable. If you aren’t spending enough time to answer their questions, talk to them, or simply acknowledge their presence, they might start looking elsewhere.

Remember that different social sites do require different approaches and have audiences unique to them.

Don’t assume that posted material is universal. It is much more effective to adapt (it may take more time but will prove worth it) materials to each specific site and audience.

3. Be your audience’s motivator

Networking requires much more than just posting materials. It also entails action on the audience’s part. If you want your audience to interact with you, you have to ask them to. Generate materials that incentivize them.

Offering premium content available to subscribers is a great method to grow your network. This is often done through video channels and blogs by promoting Web-only premium offers and content, such as valuable insights and deals for subscribers.

Then there is the simple but extremely important act of using call-to-actions effectively. Don’t leave your blogs, videos and social posts simply informational. Drive the audience to your brand. Make your audience interact with you. This can be done by answering questions and sharing your brand through word of mouth marketing.

Bear in mind that when someone searches for (or is even doing further research on) your brand, it adds value to your brand and helps you improve your Google search ranking. For this reason, you need to make your content an accessible window for audiences to find out more about your brand. Linking and creating excellent landing pages for the audience are two of the most efficient ways to achieve this.

Networking starts with your brand. The online world is home to countless brands and an almost limitless audience. Engaging them all may seem to be difficult, but you don’t have to engage everyone in the online world all the time. Just remember to be present in the online world regularly and, more importantly, to interact with your audience. Prove you are a valuable asset to their network. That is when they will share your value with their own networks and improve your visibility and overall success in the online world.


Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks.com – a word of mouth marketing firm,  and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work. She provides workshops, webinars, seminars and direct services that help create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand.  Maria Duron is founder and moderator of #brandchat — a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.

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