Friday, June 20, 2008

Now that you've got a social network, what to do with them...

I might have written this somewhere before, so hang on if you've already heard it.

These and the other posts here are targeted to business owners who may have managed to collect a decent number of members, people, users, or subscribers. It's not really that hard to do. Go to or and create, for instance, a network around an interest. Then, invite every customer and contact to your newly created network and engage with interesting content with the one who come.

Businesses are looking for ways to make money with their social networks. They might even be thinking of advertising to their network members. (Boo, hiss, bad, And, as I may have also said before, if a business doesn't have an social network, it's time to get one...the sooner the better. It will make a complete difference in the near-future. If your social network is just a social network (like MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), you're screwed, but help is on the way. (BTW, read the post below on 'Who is your social network?')

Your social network is like a little bottle of divine spirit. It can be used in a billion different ways to make money other than holding an ad in its face. That bottled 'essence' of humankind is only limited by your imagination.

So...since everyone has read the post on how to create a social network and since now everyone has a social network, here's what to with them...Cut them in on your deal!!!

That's right...let's use the example of an online florist who separately started a social network for those who enjoy 'flower arranging.' While her flower business is successful and her social network are successful, the two do not intersect. She must make them.

Our florist, and any e-business, must look at the total number of visits its site is getting each day; then, look at the total number of conversions the site is getting. Some better, some worse, undoubtedly there are fewer conversions than visits.

What could improved the visit-to-conversion ratio?

How about 'personal engagement?'

In other words, instead of redesigning a website every year or two, why not leave it alone and create immediate personal interaction with visitors to show them how to get around your site, lead them to products, upsell them if the opportunity arises?

But a website staff is limitied...right?

What if there are hundreds of visitors on the site at the same time? Then, what?

You've already guessed what I'm going to say, right? Create a way for your social network to interact with your visitors...Wow...bright lights, right? Allow for your social network to comment, critique, make arrangements, upload photos, videos.

Who is your company's social network?

Who is your company's social network?

You've probably already got the skeleton of one if you've had a web presence for any length of time.

If you don't yet have a social network or you're not somehow collecting people within your domain, you need to get busy. Do this...

1) Get every email address from every email, customer request, newsletter subscriber, blog poster, etc., etc., etc.

2) Organize them with as much personal data as you've collected.

3) Go to or any of the other platforms and create a social network around the interest all your email addressees have in common. Be smart about online store specializing in holiday decorations will find few social networkers interested in the store itself; however, the store's social network may find great interest in the subject of 'Decorating for the Holidays.'

Another example is that of a mattress store. The mattress store owner knew that his customers buy mattresses less often than they buy a car or even a house; so, rather than create a blog about mattresses which no one would read anyway, he created a blog about backpain, the reason several bought a new mattress, something in common they could share, and something that was more ongoing than the need for a new mattress.

Don't design your network around your business. Design your network instead around a shared interest.

4) Send an invitation to your email list to join your social network.

Presto...a little maintenance once in awhile and there you go...your social network.

Next - What to do with them?