Thursday, July 23, 2009

Social Networking and BDPA Members

by Guest Blogger: Monique Berry

I believe that social media is a meaningful trend. Even eBay and Netflix have jumped on the social bandwagon, allowing users to create social media profiles within their accounts. It probably won't be too long before every site has some sort of social media or networking aspect built into it.

Here are available areas in this space where the foundation could benefit.

1. Branding Opportunities
Secure the brand on social media sites - and protecting the brand before someone else beats you to it? This is especially important with respect to user names and unique URLs. This will help to have better control over the first three pages of search results for the unique name. It also may help users of specific social media sites to find BDPA if they are actually looking for your brand.

2. Build Link Popularity
Websites essentially need three things if they are to experience good visibility in the search engines - 1.) good content, 2.) good SEO and 3.) good links. Link back to the original web site within the social media sites you set up. You can also include a blurb about the organization and in many cases, add a link or links to your sites. Once you get these various social media profiles indexed, they will count as inbound links to your main site. You can even include specific anchor text related to keyword phrases you wish to target and point them to pages that have been optimized for those same terms. The bottom line is that social media profiles create opportunities for natural links and they're free!

3. Attracting Traffic
Social media and networking sites can send to drive additional traffic to the web site.

4. Interaction With the Public
The reason why it is called "social" is because it allows web users to socialize or interact with each other. Having the ability to take advantage of social media to bring further attention to products, services, and news or even put a personal face on the organization.

5. Networking Opportunities
A final reason how you can benefit from social media is the networking opportunities. Many social networking mediums offer opportunities to join specific groups of interest where you can then interact with like-minded people. Facebook is a great example of this - not only can you join groups, you can create new ones, add events and even build interactive applications that run within the Facebook environment.

For me, many of the social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, have allowed me to develop numerous relationships which are not only beneficial in my role President of BDPA Philadelphia Chapter, but especially rewarding when attending industry conferences. The conference becomes more like a family reunion than a boring, uninvolved trade show.

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