Management Matters: Making the Most Out of Your Online Networks

95% of my business is obtained through word of mouth. It is one of the most effective sources for business referrals for consumers and businesses. Existing virtual networks may not reach the massive numbers that advertising or national publicity does, but it can be a very effective tool in reaching prospective customers and clients. It allows you to establish perceived competence and reinforce your brand.

Use social networks to market both you AND your workplace. Try these strategies:

Establish Expertise - If part of your marketing strategy is becoming known as an expert in your field, social networks provide a more accessible outlet than the usual media. You can speak up in a discussion forum or blog and reach hundreds or thousands of people. Say something useful, original, or profound and you may get and linked up, reaching even more people.

Conduct a little market research – Participate in online communities and discussion groups to learn about prospective client interests and reactions. You’ll find a candor rarely found in focus groups and surveys.

Build up and reinforce your brand. Every signature in your e-mail, on the Web, and in your online profile is a chance to reinforce your brand.

Ignite word-of-mouth buzz. Do you have a new product or service? Word-of-mouth on the part of satisfied customers is a great way to establish your competence. Social networks are a good place for ‘buzz’ and if a prominent blogger in your field likes what you sell, say or do, you can create a powerful advocate.

Associate yourself with a not-for-profit cause. People are often more willing to gather around a cause than a company. This allows you to connect with people beyond the traditional avenues.

Pay attention to how you step out when interacting with your social networks. Someone is always reading and watching.

Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management consulting practice that specializes in developing people in the areas of leadership and management, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 30 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at

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