“Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” This statement by Chris Brogan, Chief of Staff at software company Appfire, explains the importance of digital presence for businesses. As is now understood, social networking is the best way to build relationships in the digital world. This blog, therefore, focuses on what social networking really is and how it benefits brands.
What is Social Networking? How Does it Differ From Social Media?
Social networking refers to connecting and communicating with other people through apps or websites over the Internet. A social networking app or website is composed of user-generated content. This means that users post content online through text, images, audio, or videos, which many people can view. In fact, individuals can also connect with their friends, family, or other people on a social media app.
Not surprisingly, people often confuse social networking with social media. To a certain extent, these two platforms do overlap. However, these platforms are created for different uses.
For instance, while social media also comprises user-generated content, it involves consuming it without connecting with the users. On the other hand, social networking is all about engaging with users and content generators.
So how does one distinguish between the two? As an example, the use of social media is scrolling through random reels posted on Instagram by other users. On the other hand, social networking refers to using apps like LinkedIn to connect or communicate with other professionals or like-minded people. It entails sharing views, interacting with them to build an extensive network, or strengthening personal, professional, or business relationships.
Brands use both social networking and social media. However, the difference is that they use social media to engage with the audience through content such as memes or educational posts. On the contrary, brand owners focus on social networking in their capacities. They use social networking websites to build personal brand, voice their opinions, or for thought leadership.
Social networking refers to connecting with like-minded people and professionals to build a network. Social media is the use of various apps to create or consume content.
How has Social Networking Changed Over the Years?
Initially, social apps were used to stay connected with peers and family. However, with increasing digitization, social networking platforms have evolved into a source of entertainment. Their popularity has grown so much that brands and professionals are also leveraging it to promote their services online.
Why is Social Networking Important for Businesses and Brands?
We are living in a digital era where the majority of communication takes place through online channels. Businesses and brands use social networking to increase brand awareness, get brand visibility, attract customers, and generate more revenue. Without a doubt, social networking has become a necessary tool for business growth.
Here’s how it helps businesses and brands grow:
- Facilitates direct communication with the customer and helps generate more sales
- Helps in targeted marketing and advertising using ideas that cater to the requirements of customers
- Helps gather data for market research and consumer behavior analysis
- Provides insights into the strengths and weaknesses of competitors; can also be used by businesses to do a SWOT analysis
What are the Current Trends in Social Networking?
Here are three trends that are proving to be relevant for businesses:
Growth of Personal Branding
As much as customers want to learn about a brand, its philosophy, and its principles, they are equally interested in the faces that build such brands—building a personal brand while social networking adds a human touch to a product or brand. Hence, a significant number of brand owners invest in personal branding.
Increasing Use of Video Content
According to HubSpot, video content and video marketing are businesses’ top priorities due to high engagement. Small videos with informative content—rather than long-form textual posts—are more popular on social websites and apps.
Businesses can now use social networking as a social commerce tool as well. They can create marketplaces or business accounts to connect with potential buyers. It, therefore, offers a seamless purchase experience.
What Opportunities Does Social Networking Offer Entrepreneurs and Marketers?
As explained above, personal brand building is a popular and essential trend on social networks. Entrepreneurs and marketers can leverage social apps to build their personal brands on social media. It ultimately helps promote their products and services on social networks and offers the following opportunities:
1. Enhanced Reach
This is one of the best ways for business owners and marketers to increase reach and inform people about their products or services. It increases brand awareness and helps generate more business leads. Therefore, brands and individual service providers can use networking websites to generate outbound leads.
2. Better Customer Engagement
Customer demand and behavior have evolved in recent years. Consumers are now more likely to purchase from brands with whom they can connect and engage. The two most crucial business scaling elements are customer satisfaction and engagement. Social networking allows an excellent opportunity to connect with customers through messages, interactive posts, campaigns, polls, and contests. Businesses and individual service providers directly resolve customer queries and offer customer support. This boosts customer engagement and satisfaction, and further helps improve customer retention rates.
3. Brand Collaboration
Another significant advantage of networking is that it allows collaboration or partnerships with other brands or professionals. Brand collaboration opens up new business avenues and growth opportunities. It also increases brand recognition and brand value, thus helping attract more customers and generating revenue.
4. Creation of a Unique Identity
Social networking and social media are powerful tools to create a unique brand identity online. Brands can use these platforms to showcase content that adds value to their audience. This helps establish a brand identity and gain customer loyalty.
Learn With Emeritus
To conclude, many brands, entrepreneurs, and marketers create content, connect with people, and increase their audience through social networking and marketing. Consequently, networking apps and websites have become a crowded space. Building and growing your brand requires extra effort, techniques, and knowledge of algorithms. Here’s how to stay on top of your game: Enroll for Emeritus’ online digital marketing courses. These can help entrepreneurs and marketers master the art of social networking to grow their connections and business.
By Sneha Chugh
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