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When to build Social Networks

The time to start building a social network is not when you need it. The time to start is well beforehand, because it takes time to develop relationships. It takes time to listen, participate, create optimized content and understand the triggers that will inspire sales or referrals.

developing relationshipsIt takes a long time to develop online relationships that lead to social media ROI. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Many small businesses go after the most popular social sites with a “fish where the fish are” mentality. While that is not an unreasonable strategy in itself, it’s important toknow which specific social networks are relevant to your customers.

Because there are only a handful of social networks, chances are one or more will be relevant for your online marketing and there are many opportunities for brands on each network. Here are some of them.

Opportunities for brands on Facebook:

  • Participate in one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many conversations
  • Build connections and relationships with individuals
  • Listen to what brand fans are interested in
  • Create and cross-promote shareable content
  • Offer promotions and special offers
  • Interact with current and potential customers

Opportunities for brands on Google+:

  • Google+ hangouts for B2B brands can be used for videoconferencing to answer questions, conduct training or offer creative pitches.
  • Google+ allows you to upload a mix of updates, images and videos to relevant segments of your network.
  • Because Google+ is integrated with Google search, the more people who add your brand to their circles, the greater the chance that you will appear in those users’ Google search results.