Building Your Version of Facebook (or LinkedIn, for that matter)

Engaging your customers in a dialogue is what social media is all about. ENGAGEMENTdb ranks the world’s top brands and their measures their ability to leverage social media to interact with customers. As consumers gain more influence through user-generated media and has expanded their own individual reach in their personal networks, the need to connect through this medium effectively will soon be a requirement for effective marketing.

There are two ways to approach social media marketing though. First, is by being a participant. You can leverage the tools offered, or made available by third-party developers, to connect with your consumers. The fan pages of Facebook and the array of tools, from HootSuite to SocialOomph, for Twitter enables you to measure, track and penetrate the current base of the two most famous social networking sites.

The second way, however, is to build your own social network. For example, Ning let’s you create social networks while allowing you to join the many social networks available, while SocialGo does the same while also offering a concierge service where they will design, configure and customized the network for you.

The benefit here is you’re not only able to engage into conversations but actually controls the platform where the conversation happens. By doing so you allow your company to capitalize on the viral spread that can occur in a social networking site and serve as a starting point for dialogue on matters relating to your niche or core competency.

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