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Social Networking: The Next Frontier

(August 2009) posted on Mon Sep 21, 2009

Your favorite magazine is developing its presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


By Ben P. Rosenfield

When people ask you how they can contact your shop, how often do you start your answer with the letters www or provide an address that lacks a street name? Internet technology has revolutionized the way we communicate and has given even the smallest of businesses a way to establish a presence with global reach. It enables companies to give prospects and clients virtual facility tours and quickly transfer huge amounts of data back and forth.

One of the biggest trends right now in Internet-based business and product promotion involves the use of social networking to appeal to buyers in specific markets on a personal level. Among the many options available for social networking are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each provides a unique platform for marketing and communication.

Facebook attracts users of all ages, and the company recently saw its user base jump to 250,000,000 registered accounts. Yes, that’s a quarter of a billion. Facebook allows users to create groups, of which other users may become members on their own or by invitation. Among the many handy features is the ability to message all members of a group at once. Facebook also offers several options for paid advertising, including image- and text-based ads based on pay-per-click or impression pricing.

Twitter is a micro-blogging site on which users post tweets—notes up to 140 characters long—viewable by those who elect to follow them. (For the sake of example,
the previous sentence contains 135 characters, including spaces and punctuation marks.) It’s a no-nonsense way to get brief messages to lots of people. You could post breaking news about a press you just bought, a really important job you completed, a new product or service, a recent hire, and so on.

LinkedIn is the most professionally oriented of the three. It facilitates networking based on work-related parameters and other search criteria and allows users to establish groups for their businesses and other interests. One of the most valuable tool it offers is the ability to request recommendations from anyone with whom you are connected. That means all of your satisfied clients who are registered on LinkedIn can tell the world about the unmatched quality of your work, your rapid turnaround times, and your competitive pricing. You can then make the praise public on your profile.

Each of these social-networking sites is unique, but the pricing structure for all three is the same: free. That’s right! It’ll cost you nothing but the time to set up and configure your accounts (note that LinkedIn does offer additional services and features for a fee, but the basic functions, including requesting and making recommendations, are fully accessible at no charge).

All three sites offer the ability to manage who has access to your profile and groups and to control the types of actions they can perform in those groups. For example, you can set your Facebook group to invite only, thereby keeping the riff-raff out. You may elect to approve requests for membership to your LinkedIn group on a case-by-case basis to keep competitors from getting too close to your action. You can block users on Twitter, thereby preventing them from following your tweets.

You may be wondering by now whether Screen Printing is active on these social-networking sites. I’m happy to tell you that your favorite magazine is developing its presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The following URLs will take you the magazine’s groups and pages. During your stay, be sure to add Screen Printing as a friend on Facebook, establish a connection with us on LinkedIn, and follow the magazine’s tweets on Twitter.

Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=94495466073

LinkedIn
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2066558

Twitter
http://www.twitter.com/ScreenPrintMag
 

Ben P. Rosenfield
Managing Editor


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