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Social networking refers to a variety of techniques for building online communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Internet-based social networking has been used to develop viral marketing campaigns to sell products and promote political candidates and causes.
- Huge Audience: Millions of people are on social networking sites
- Reach New/Different People: Reach people who you may not connect with via other traditional means of communications
- Viral Component: If you tell your friends, they will tell theirs, and so forth…
- Greater Exposure: This is immeasurable, but very important. Even if people are visiting your site or taking action, they are still learning about your campaign.
- Engage and empower activists: Social networking is another way for activists to engage with your organization and promote your campaigns.
- Information Overload/Competing Interests: People aren’t necessarily on social networking sites for organizing purposes, but rather social.
- Building Networks: You need a large base to start with, or else it is very difficult for the site to take off.
- Where do you start? They are so many different sites, where do you start?
- Controlling the message: It’s very hard to control the message on these sites, especially on things like the wall, discussion boards or blogs.
- Build a base of friends. Don’t use persuasion or negative advertising.
- Find people with the same interests and communicate your message to them.
- Use search tools to find folks with similar interests.
- What you put in is what you get out. Social networking sites are a component of any campaign – need to answer questions, post new information, etc.
- Advertise your social network sites. If you do not share with your networks - online, offline, e-mail lists, etc - then you will not be successful.
- Link back to your Web site and simple online actions to get e-mail addresses to communicate with these individuals in other ways.
- Provide an open network. Even if you don’t always like what people have to say, you should allow an open dialog.
- Be bold, passionate and funny – or else people will not forward it.
- Don’t get stagnant. Continue to communicate, update information and build a community, or your site will stop growing. Post new blogs, ask for input from the community, add video, take action, and change your page layout frequently.
- Example: the Free Press page on Facebook]
- Example: Save the Internet
- Example: Free Press on Twitter
- YouTube (for video sharing)
- Example: Video Free Press
- http://www.flickr.com Flickr] (for photo sharing)
- Example: Free Press pics
- John McCain's MySpace page
- Michael Arrington, "Modeling the Real Market Value of Social Networks," TechCrunch, June 23, 2008.