Measuring Your Social Networking Success as a Small Business Owner

As a beading business owner, it's important for you to reach out to as many potential customers as possible to keep your company growing. In the Digital Age, it's becoming easier for entrepreneurs to do so by the means of the internet. Social networking continues to change the way that people communicate and do business on a regular basis.

Twitter, Facebook and MySpace are all websites that have gained popularity through keeping people in touch. However, businesses have learned to use these websites to their advantage as well. Many sites, such as Facebook, now allow users to create public pages designed for their business. In turn, companies can use these platforms to showcase new goods, services and advertisements just as they do in the real world.

"When you've got 300 million people on Facebook, that's a huge business watering hole," Lon Safko, social media expert and co-author of The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success, told "The profile is like an index to your company."

To a person who has never found an interest in using social networking websites, it can be difficult to get into the swing of things, especially when you're focusing on starting up your beading business. However, becoming familiar with these resources can help you expand your experience in the industry and benefit your company over time.

Before beginning to build a presence on social networking websites, it's important to do a little planning just as you do with any other business operation. First, determine what the main purpose of your profile will be. Many entrepreneurs are aware of the benefits that can come with creating a Facebook page, but developing a focal point can be helpful. Having a goal in mind can help you gauge the success of your social networking presence over time.

Next, it's important to determine how you intend on maintaining your social networking profiles. Although it may seem easier enough to type 140 characters into a Twitter status update, it can quickly become overwhelming to post news on multiple websites on a daily basis.

If you don't have the time to maintain your social networking profiles, the entire endeavor can fall apart. People will only follow your accounts if you are of use to them--this means providing a steady stream of information to them about your beading business on a regular basis. Don't hesitate to appoint a staff member to manage your social networking accounts if you can't handle it on top of your other responsibilities.

After you have created a profile for your beading business on a social networking website, it's important to develop ways to track your success over time. Creating goals is the first step toward making sure your presence online is paying off.

First, develop a strong number of clients that you wish you attract through your profile and keep track of how your number of followers grows over time. Not only can this keep you motivated to continue to post updates, but it can help you gauge the popularity of your business and online profile.

Next, consider utilizing a Web analytics program. There are a number of different options on the market ranging in price, but Google Analytics is one of the most popular ones--probably because it's free. Through this type of program, you can view statistics on your Web page and break down its overall success based on the numbers.

When using your social networking profile, it's important to make worthwhile updates for your followers, even if it's only a few times a day. Keep the "quality over quantity" rule in mind when making posts. For instance, 10 posts on frivolous news is lackluster in comparison to five posts on your important business operations that may be worthwhile to the public.

After you have established your social networking profile and have given it enough time to gain exposure, there are a number of factors that you should measure. Give it three to six months, then look at the ups and downs of your public page.

First, try to determine if your social networking presence has helped you gain more customers. One of the main reasons entrepreneurs use these sites in the first place is to expand their client base. Next, decipher whether the Web page has helped you increase your sales. Your profile should be beneficial to you in this manner, especially if you advertise goods and services.

It may seem difficult to tackle all that the Internet has to offer, but taking a chance and trying can only further your success as a beading business owner.