Volume 13, Issue 5 - September/October 2009

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The Social Networking Revolution
by Manny Hondroulis

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.1 Given that window film has very little market awareness among consumers, the more people with whom we share our marketing message, the better off our industry will be.

The Internet serves as an inexpensive way to deliver your marketing message. Hopefully, by now, every dealer, distributor, and manufacturer has an effective website; but our command of Internet marketing shouldn’t stop there. There are other online mechanisms for communicating our value proposition; I’m referring to social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.

Some of you may think that Facebook and MySpace are only for teenagers, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Adults are getting into the act and hundreds of millions of people are involved with social networking these days. In fact, Facebook has more than 250 million active users, nearly half of which log in on a daily basis.2 Wouldn’t you like to communicate with this audience using nothing more than a few keystrokes and clicks of the mouse?

What’s the Fuss About?
Before I explain in detail how social networking sites can help you grow your business, I should explain what they are all about. Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn are all similar in that each user (or company) creates a profile, which then links to other profiles, usually those belonging to family, friends, or acquaintances.

So how do you get started?

Start by choosing which social networking site is right for you.

Facebook and MySpace have the most active users, which translates into the largest audiences; but LinkedIn is a network of professionals who may need your services, i.e. property managers, architects and building owners.

Next you will need to create a profile. You can create one for your business or for yourself. When creating your profile, be sure to share your business name, contact information, including a website address, upload photographs of your company logo and installation portfolio, and any other piece of information that will help a viewer of your profile understand your company’s products and services.

Once you develop your profile, it’s time to find your friends, family and acquaintances, and there are plenty of them out there. More and more adults are getting involved with social networking to stay in touch with friends and to reconnect with others from their past. In today’s hectic environment, not everyone has time to pick up the phone; that’s why social networking has gained popularity among adults. While you are reconnecting with people, mention to them what you do for a living and educate them to the benefits of window film. If they ever need window film, they will know whom to contact. Consider connecting with people whom you don’t even know, but think may benefit from the product. If you find a property manager on LinkedIn, befriend the individual and start a dialogue, or perhaps even offer a sales presentation.

Update your profile periodically. Update it with the latest industry news, like links to articles on www.windowfilmmag.com for instance, company promotions, or new products, so your “friends” will be reminded of what you do every time they log on and view your updates.

Having access to millions of people has never been easier. As an industry, we suffer from low end-user awareness. If all of us in the industry reached out to hundreds of people through social networking, the word of mouth would spread throughout their networks too, and window film would become a well-known product practically overnight.

Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager for Energy Products Distribution in Baltimore. Mr. Hondroulis’ opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine

1 from Wikipedia.com 2 http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics

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