The Original Social Networks

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Much is made of late of the fabulous growth of online social networks such as MySpace and LinkedIn.

For the typical small business I’d like to remind you of the opportunities available in the original social networks – schools and churches. In every community in America, thousands of word of mouth referrals are made while attending the kindergarten graduation, a sporting event or Sunday social.

Smart marketers look for opportunities to tap into this natural marketing phenomenon. The trick is to partner, offer value and forget trying to exploit relationships in the network. I suspect the same is true of the online networks as well.

There are few businesses that I can’t think of that can’t approach these community based groups and propose a win-win promotion. Most have multiple fundraising needs as a whole and as subgroups such as PTAs, Scout groups and soup kitchens. Product and professional service providers alike should consider these community based partners.

Preference in these networks may be given, rightly so, to members, but if you have something of value to offer, you can gain access and tap into the inherent word of mouth buzz available.


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