Marketing on the Cheap – Social Networking
I just answered a great question on LinkedIn about marketing on the cheap and I thought you might be interested (since soooo many people want to know the answer to that same question). Enjoy!
The asker posed: “Marketing/Advertising at low costs? I have recently opened my real estate company in Dubai would like to know advertising/marketing methods which achieve desired results in low costs. Also are they any sites where I can place ads for free or low costs and still receive good leads? ”
You may want to consider the power of social networking, and for the following reasons:
1. It is free.
2. It is simple.
3. It is effective.
4. It is popular.
5. It makes your other marketing 10x more effective.
6. It is the future.
What is social networking? Pardon me if you already know, but social networking is the activity of mass distributing yourself in a seemingly personal way while allowing you to maximize your time spent and financial investments. In simpler terms, its a way to stay connected to people and remind them that you exist in a relevant manner.
LinkedIn is a fabulous example of a business connection tool where you have the opportunity to connect with people through people. It’s a great concept on the principle of six degrees of separation.
FastPitch has created an excellent stand-alone utility that also allows you to use your LinkedIn profile, get more out of it and actively instant message (IM) new people and chat live. I like it, and have met some great people.
For outside of US bounds (primarily), you may want to consider Xing also – I have found it remarkably helpful and have met some amazing people all over the world. Based in Germany, it embraces cross-cultural networking. Some have called me from overseas to connect.
For Real Estate, which can be a B2C offering, you may also want to consider Facebook and Myspace.
How to tie it all together and make it work without going crazy? Twitter is an excellent and highly popular micro-blogging utility where you have to answer the question “what are you doing” in 140 characters or less. An example of what I might put: “answering an excellent question on LinkedIn about marketing with social networking”
How to wrap it up in a neat lil’ bow? ping.fm (current beta code: letmeping -not sure how long this is valid) – this utility allows you to update most of your status updates from that site – OR (and I love this:) AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).
All that being said on the topic of social networking, here is some very specific advice on usage: be specific enough to pique interest, but vague enough to not give away the house, and ALWAYS maintain the highest level of courtesy, professionalism and respect. People mistake social networking as a forum to be a little too familiar with people and it hurts them. Use your best judgment and you’ll do famously. 🙂
NOW… to balance all of these activities out, I would NOT suggest advertising. It can be pricey and can yield low to depressing returns. I would highly suggest reading up on how to create and distribute interesting press releases and harnessing the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
I would also suggest email marketing (Constant Contact), blogging (WordPress or Blogger) and making the entire thing cyclical. If it can’t feed into itself, your marketing programs won’t work.
Strategic partnerships never hurt either.
I hope this helps you in your marketing adventures!