If you would like to improve your online visibility, you will need to be present on social networks, it should be part of your online marketing strategy. Why? Because all the big search engines like Google and Yahoo are increasingly incorporating social media data into their results. So what is social media and how to effectively use social networks and improve online visibility?

Social mediaSocial media (or social networks) is a collective term for all the interactive platforms through which internet users can easily create and share data. To make it simpler: social networking facilitates listening, interacting, engaging and collaborating with each other.

Although the definition of social media might be clear, you might wonder how to effectively use social networks. Whereas a few years ago blogging was (and still is one of) the most important aspect of internet marketing, social networking is taking over. From sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn visitors can get to your company site and blog, so you better not ignore them.

To get the most out of social networking, it is recommended to choose the networks that most closely match your market and niche. Once you have choses the ones you will be using, take time to learn about them and discover the best practices to benefit from them. But most important, become part of the conversation, because that is what social networking is all about.

Some of the most popular ones at the moment are the ones listed below, but there are hundreds of social networks.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • MySpace
  • Friendster
  • Netlog
  • Badoo

Wherever you just started to explore the many social networks or you are a seasoned user of social media, the tips regarding social networking you will find below are usable for everybody.

  • As mentioned before, you should look for the social network that best matches your business. If you want to connect with your (potential customers), the smaller networks are generally make it easier for you to do this.
  • Dedicate some time to discovering the social networks you will be using and network with the other members part of them. In addition, research networks that are active in the same industry as your company to find new helpful ideas.
  • Establish your goals and what you want to accomplish. Furthermore, think about what your target groups are.
  • Create relevant and interesting content to start communicating to connect with your (potential) customers, and build relationships with them.

As mentioned before, big search engines like Google and Yahoo are increasingly incorporating social media data into their results, so social networking is here to stay. Once you know how to effectively use social networks, you will be able to increase your online visibility. Furthermore, it will help you create an objective view of yourself and your company.