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Social Media & Networking for Business: Podcast October 2, 2008

Posted by David Dirks in Big Dogz Podcasts.
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What is this thing called ‘social media’ and ‘social networking’?  How do they relate to business?  How can they help your business grow and remain competitive?  In this , we asked Catherine Brown from Dotster.com to walk us through it all.  Dotster.com is one of the leading internet hosting, web, and domain management firms in the world, so no better place to start than there.

Social Media for Business

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1. Janet Davis-Leak - October 2, 2008

Hi Dave,

I just listened to your podcast on “Social Media for Business” where you interviewed Catherine Brown of Dotster.com. It was an excellent interview and I learned a lot from it. I am in the newspaper publishing business (I am attempting to launch a national newspaper geared towards women, both an online and print version) and need to get some pointers on how I can use social networking to attract advertisers, readers, subsribers, donors (we’re changing our status to non-profit). How would I present my social networking site to drive people to it. I would think that on one hand it may be rather easy since my business is in the business to help promote others in business as well as to inform and educate the public.

Please help!

Thanks so much
Jan

P.S. I also plan to put this question to the people at Dotster.com.

2. David Dirks - October 2, 2008

Jan: My first thought is that the answer to your question, which is about how to monetize social networking/media, is evolving as we speak. Here are some of my thoughts and I’d be happy to discuss them at greater length if it would help (probably both of us!). The more I look at ‘new media’ opportunities, the more I see that some basic principles still hold true:

1. If I truly understand my audience/customers, then I can probably ask them (or do the research to find out) what are the key issues that they would want to create a dialogue around and actively participate in (hence, social media content). The more I know about who my product serves, the better I am at figuring out what will drive them to interact with me on a regular basis.

2. Taking a page from Google, the only thing that counts is web traffic (blogs, website, etc). I heard a Google exec the other day basically say that until you have traffic, you have nothing. The Google way is to focus intensely on what the customer wants and how they want to interact. If they do that right and they draw traffic, the monetization is much easier to figure out.

3. Which leads me to my next conclusion: Content and transparency are king. Providing timely and relevant content to targeted users/customers has always been a hallmark for creating traffic, and, most importantly, repeat traffic. Transparency seems to be another key point in the process. Corporate entities that hide behind a shield that shy’s away from engaging customers and prospects in issues deemed ‘politically incorrect’ or embarrassing, fail in creating an environment where people feel free to contribute in a social media/networking environment. It’s a huge turnoff.

4. The other consideration is just how important it is to create portals that allow your readers with like interests and needs to connect with one another. The better you are are making those connections easy, the more traffic you generate.

5. Monetizing your print and online package of services becomes a process of demonstrating to potential advertisers that you can provide a very targeted set of customers as opposed to mass-market impact. It’s a very powerful selling tool to be able to demonstrate the power of your targeted audiences and the volume of traffic that they bring to your media venues (i.e. specialty blogs, video content, etc.).

6. Outside of monetizing advertising revenues, the next biggest opportunity is to turn your content into revenue. If you have a newspaper (online or otherwise), you’re in the business content, right? Once it’s printed, it’s usually forgotten by most publishers. I say, whenever you create content for your newspaper, take the long range view of thinking about how that content can possibly be used down the road to create a ‘new’ product. For example, if you are doing a series focusing on a specific topic for a specific set of your customer base, then you could aggragate that information into a book, DVD series, etc. that then could become a candidate for monetizing. National Geographic does this all the time. They show a great program and then at the end of it, offer viewers and opportunity to purchase what they just saw! And it works. ESPN, the Learning channel and others have all realized they could earn INCREMENTAL revenues!

Well Jan, that’s my brain dump so far. Give me your thoughts and let’s keep working on this issue so that we can help you to create the social media tools that will help you grow and make money along the way!

Best,

Dave


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