Is Social Networking A Waste of Time?

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Social networking – it has been hailed as a revolution in online marketing. It has also been hailed by others as a massive time waster. So what is the truth about social networking and can it help your online business?

What is Social Networking?

Social media, or social networking, is a form of viral marketing which utilizes many different sites and formats. It can include using YouTube to distribute videos, Facebook and MySpace to make a network of friends or Digg, Stumbleupon and other services to tag and rate articles and websites. There is no doubt that there are internet marketers who are using social networking to their advantage and as a result have grown their business tremendously. On the other hand there are those who have not gained many benefits. The secret comes down to knowing how to use social networking in the most time effective, and cost effective way.

You should always be thinking about return on investment (ROI) when you are undertaking any new marketing strategy. How much time and money must you invest in order to get a return? Thankfully social networking is generally free, unless you are paying someone to take on the tasks for you. Social media is all about making contacts and building a brand. This brand can be yourself, your website or your products. Whatever the case, using this brand across a broad range of social platforms is the best strategy to take.

Some of the most popular social networking sites that internet marketers use include:

  • MySpace
  • Blogger
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Yahoo! Groups
  • Xanga
  • MSN Groups
  • LinkedIn

Many internet marketers have been using the site Twitter for some time. This site involves ‘following’ other marketers so you can see what they are up to. Although big marketers have had great success with Twitter, less popular internet marketers have a hard time getting enough followers to make it worthwhile. For that reason, Twitter is best left to people with an existing reputation, rather than as a method of building one.

Best Social Media Sites?

Possibly the most valuable sites for internet marketing social media is Youtube and Digg. There are many IM videos on YouTube that subtly promote websites and products. Digg allows people to post articles whilst other users rate them. A very popular article can lead to the ‘Digg effect’ where a site gets inundated with visitors for a short time.

There is no doubt that social networking, when used properly, can be a highly effective internet marketing tool but if used without thought it can result in wasted time and disappointing results.

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