Social Networking for SMEs

This is an introduction to "social networking" & digital marketing for SMEs in Ireland. It's written for a client who wants to offer something valuable to Irish SMEs.

You must have heard of Facebook & Bebo.  It's almost impossible you don't know someone who's using one of them.  Probably someone in your family or extended family,  is on Facebook,  Your photograph might even be on there.

I remember when my nieces from USA came over for Christmas with their Facebook obsession.  They spent hours on there, uploading photos and sending messages to their friends back home.  Instead of slumping out in front of the TV, they were glued to their laptops.  It was weird.  A new form of life - a "virtual" life they called it.

They were too old for Bebo now, so they'd moved up to Facebook.  Grew up with one form of social networking, moved on to another.  Migrated...

They had a new language.  "Friends" on Facebook.  Some of their "friends" were family, others were schoolmates, but there were "friends" of "friends" now connected and called their "friends".  One of my nieces said she had 473 "friends".  Then my sister, her mother, admitted she had 524.

Suddenly I saw something: I had a book I wanted to sell.  I needed readers and I needed them to buy the book as soon as it was published.  I could do with a few customers, "friends" willing to sign up for advance copies from my publisher. My publisher would love me if I could deliver 1,000 advance orders for the book from among my contacts.  That might even propel the book into the best sellers.

And so began my life on Facebook.  The personal opened up a realisation that this could help my business.

Facebook is well known.  But most of its features are not.

There is Facebook for individuals.  Individuals have "friends".  There is no limit to the number of "Facebook Friends" you can have.  You can send each one an individual message on Facebook, as if it was an "instant message" (IM).  You can also send one message to all your "friends" at the same time. It's easier & faster than email, when you get used to it.

There is Facebook for business.  A business can have a Facebook Identity. Businesses have "fans".  There is no limit to the number of "fans" your business can have.  Your business can send each "fan" a private individual message.  The business can reach all its "fans" with one message.

And so on.  This is an introduction  to how "social networking" or "social media" or "digital marketing" can help your business survive and thrive.

Now is Facebook a waste of your time?