The way in which you use social networking for business depends on the type of business with which you are involved. Most businesses can benefit from the increased exposure provided by social networking, but some businesses can integrate social networking sites into their business practices in other ways as well. It is also common for businesses to offer rewards to customers through social networking sites. Using social sites creatively can be good for business, but when businesses do not act in accordance with rules of etiquette or are seen as spammers, business can decrease rapidly. As such, social networking should be approached with knowledge and caution from a business perspective.
One of the easiest ways to use social networking for business is to simply set up a profile and see how the profile gets used. It is good to go into this endeavor with a plan, but being flexible is important as well. If it seems like the social networking profile is being used primarily to lodge complaints, then embracing customer satisfaction though social networking might be a good idea. On the other hand, if people seem to follow or like the profile simply out of adoration for the business, rewarding loyalty with discounts might be a better plan.
Usually, advertising does not occur directly through profiles when doing social networking for business. The profile set-up may function to provide more information, but people who access the profile have usually already found the business in some way. Having many friends may function as advertising, but putting ads that might be seen as aggressive on your profile is usually frowned upon. Social networking for business must usually give potential customers the sense that the profile has been set up in response to having a large number of fans, not to find new customers. Visitors should want to be part of the community that likes your business or product, as this is a major part of social networking.
One problem with using social networking for business is that it can backfire seemingly out of the blue. It also opens a business up to having personal relationships with customers who may not always be happy and who may have the power to spread misinformation about a business. One way to prevent these unfortunate problems is to understand social networking fully and to run a good business even when you think no one is looking. Businesses that are objectively good, in that they use good business practices and have a product or service that is earnestly the best they can provide, typically fare well in social networking because the product or service sells itself.