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Reinventing the Business Model With Social Media

Times are changing, and so are the ways in which a business creates itself and sells itself to the world. These days many businesses are already using social media to reinvent themselves and make themselves more accessible to more people. Not only that, but according to eWeek.com, 32% of small and midsize businesses who, before now, have not used social media, plan to advertise using Facebook, LinkedIn, or Myspace within the next year.

So why are businesses using social media to increase their value? First and foremost, social media has plenty of potential. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace have millions of users across the world, so it makes sense to advertise on these sites to get more business. Businesses like Ikea and Kohl’s have Facebook pages. Even newspapers, like the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, have Twitter pages to keep people updated in an age where tweets are more common than newspaper articles.

Just as important is the cost of social media marketing: there is none. Social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Twitter are free. Even less commonly used sites such as WordPress, Blogger, and YouTube don’t cost anything, but all of these sites can be used for extensive advertising as well as provide information about a business. Especially in this economic recession, it is important to consider the cost of advertizing, and how much money a business can save through by social media.

Social media sites also provide ways for businesses to network, which is important in building relationships. Business alliances can be formed through sites like LinkedIn (which was created specifically for this) and Facebook. Those who follow one business will be more likely to follow another if the two businesses are linked to each other, and social media makes this more easier than ever.

So, should you use social media to reinvent your business model? The answer is yes!  Absolutely!  By doing so you will be able to reach millions and network with other businesses and professionals, all for free. To get started, here are a few tips:

-Facebook and MySpace are great places to present your business to the world. All you have to do is make a Facebook or MySpace page. Remember to be detailed about the nature of your business, that way people will know what your business is all about. Be honest, and don’t be afraid to show off the best parts of your business.

-YouTube can also be an interesting place to share bits of your business. Do you have a video podcast related to your business, or instructional videos designed to help other small businesses get started? Create a YouTube account, from which you can post these videos and receive feedback for them. People can also subscribe to your YouTube account and receive updates whenever you post something new.

-Services like WordPress.com and Blogger.com allow for easy blogging about your business, which can keep fans updated about new projects you have, give advice and information about your industry, or any other relevant information. Generally it’s good to have your blog linked to another site, such as your business’ website, Facebook page, or Twitter page.

-Twitter is a great way to send people quick updates about your business. All you have to do is update the status, and instantly anyone following your Twitter page will know about it. With Twitter, the statuses can’t be over 140 characters long, so updates should be short and to the point. Links can be put in the statuses, so if you have something a bit longer to write, you can put it elsewhere (such as on your website, Facebook page, or blog) and link to it in your status.

-Finally, LinkedIn is a great place to network with other businesses and build relationships as well as identify and join organizations related to your industry.  Linked In also provides opportunities to Networking with other professionals in your industry that can eventually lead you to new business, projects or even a job if you decide that is what you’re looking for.  Signing up is free, and over 50 million professionals use the site.

Yes, social media is changing the way businesses advertise and brand themselves. With all the social media resources out there, gaining business is becoming easier, as social media sites reach more and more people. You, too can take advantage of what social media has to offer your business. Reinvent Your Business Model with Social Media and Happy Networking!