Marketing your products on social networking sites is possible, and can be extremely profitable if done right. Let's start at the beginning.

Before you can find your customers on a social networking site, you have to be involved in that social networking site. So, have you:

  • Established a page on Facebook, My Space, You Tube, Twitter etc?
  • Added a photo or avatar so people get a sense of who you are?
  • Introduced yourself, your interest and your business?

Great! Now you have to start hooking up with other people. How do you do that?

  • Let the networking site go through your email list and see who else that you know or have had communication with also has a page on the site. You can then decide if you want to link up with that person.

  • Put an announcement on your website with your social network site information and asking people to join with you.

  • Join interest groups that have been established on the site that are relevant to your business interests.

Each of these techniques should garner some additional connections for you. In each case, you have a fairly easy entry:

  • Your email list will generate a list of people you already know that you can link up with.
  • The site announcement gives people the opportunity to be part of your list.
  • People who have joined a group have announced their interest in speaking with other people about the subject of the group.

Here is a technique that you may not have thought of that identifies people you may not find in any other way. Use a search query that searches the interests people have identified in their profiles. This information is not easily found in any other way, many of these people have not joined a related group and most would not necessarily be people that you would hook up with in any other way.

The trick is to know how to write the Google search query that will bring you the right list of people. Try the following search queries in Google:

Linkedin: inurl:in 'fishing'

Bebo inurl:profile inurl:bebo 'gardening'

CafeMom 'scuba diving'

Facebook 'led zeppelin'

Flickr '@gmail'

Twitter inurl:status 'video games'

MySpace inurl:myspace inurl:fuseaction 'hiking'

Connecting with your market

The tricky part now is how to approach these folks. You do not know them and they have not agreed to be approached. An out of the blue contact that looks like marketing will be poorly received. You will need to put on your most clever thinking cap and find a creative way to approach these folks with an offer that will make them glad you connected.

If you sell gardening supplies, you may want to try something like, 'Your profile lists gardening as an interest, me too, I especially love growing delphiniums and belong to the British Delphinium Society, I also sell gardening supplies and just found the best fertilizer I have ever used. As a fellow gardener, I thought you might be interested, just let me know and if you have any tips on slugs, I am all ears!'

Give your social media creativity a try. It will help you build a deeper knowledge of your market, closer connections with potential customers, and undoubtedly higher and repeat sales once you do it right.