On Saturday I attended a Small Business conference in London centred around the 'power of the web' for SME's.
Despite missing out on possibly the last days of decent weather this year, my fiance Nicky and I found the event to be really productive with some great speakers and content. As such over the next few posts I'll try and summarise my thoughts on the day with some pointers for our members and visitors. Firstly, online social networking.
No doubt many readers are aware of and perhaps use Facebook, MySpace etc.. however there are a number of other sites that could prove useful for those wanting to increase their personal or business profile in ways that can complement their marketing activities through thebestofhammersmithandfulham. So, here's some ideas/thoughts in no particular order...
1) Facebook: Seems like everyone has a profile these days. I find it great for keeping in touch on a personal level and you have the ability to start or join 'Groups' which may be on a subject directly relevant to your company activities. One word of warning though this is probably the biggest time sapper ever invented!
2) LinkedIn: A good professional networking site, centred around your personal profile. I have not used this extensively but have found it a great way to re-connect with previous work colleagues I had lost touch with. It's probably the chosen one for many executives looking for professional online networks and is easy to keep current.
3) Forums: I think posting and discussion on forums can be very useful. Pick topics you are interested in and can add value to, or those that can be relevant to your own business. Very important not to dive in and sell! You've got to engage with the discussion here and people will naturally be drawn to your business/posts if you can offer some interesting comment or insight on the topic at hand.
4) YouTube: This might seem an odd one but it's a free way to get streaming video for your product or service, which can be expensive if you want to deliver from your own web site (or it is with my ISP). Nicky and I recently uploaded our wedding 'Save the Date' video to YouTube, great for getting a message out quickly and pointing the people you want to see it to the link via email. It's easy to make videos these days and there's even HTML code ready made so you can embed the clip in your own web site to make it more attractive. I'm considering this for thebestofhammersmithandfulham site, if anyone wants to play a part in this epic then let me know!
5) Blogs: Blogs like this are a great way to keep your web site current, post content and just keep in touch with your clients or prospective market. At the conference there were a few tools mentioned I don't personally use, however wordpress.com (the original) and blogger.com were highly praised.
6) Flickr: This site is for photo hosting, however you can use to upload photos to do with your business and link back to your web site to improve search traffic. I've used this to share holiday snaps and it's easy to use and works well.
That's just a few of the main social networking areas on the Web that are useful to individuals for fun or business marketing purposes if used in the right way. Try a few for a month and see what works for you and if you're having trouble keeping track there is a great free utility, Google Reader, that will help you keep sight of everything in one place.