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OPINION

New Growth Opportunities on Facebook and Twitter

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
The paradigm of Internet communications has presented marketing, advertising and public relations professionals with a cost-effective tool that garners enormous exposure at minimal cost.

The advent of social networking web sites -- Facebook.com, Myspace.com, Twitter.com and the like -- is changing the way profit-making enterprises and non-profit organizations achieve their goals of increasing consumers or memberships or donations.

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And so a growing number of business leaders, journalists and political activists are using the these web sites to network with one another -- sometimes going as far as creating non-profit organizations with tens of thousands of members and associates -- and increasing interest in their businesses or organizations.

A perfect example of successful social networking is Fox News Channel. Their on-air talent and production staff attribute its success of being Number One to its accessibility to the public/news consumers. One of the most successful uses of Twitter.com by a major corporation is News Corps' utilization of Twitter to instantly communicate with viewers and obtain instant feedback about news segments and topics.

"Twitter offers unique opportunities for the enhancement and expansion of traditional marketing and social media marketing campaigns. We saw companies and savvy Internet marketers coming up with new ways to use Twitter to their advantage and Fox News Channel has used Twitter and Facebook to increase its viewership. Viewers become partners, not just consumers and audience members," FNC news anchor Jon Scott said in a previous column I wrote regarding social networking..

A definite plus for utilizing social network web sites is that the owners/operators frequently upgrade their operations and provide additional services to members. For example, two of the most popular social networking sites -- Facebook and Twitter -- are offering members new or upgraded features.

For example, Facebook.com updated two of their popular features:

1. Facebook's homepage now features a "Top News" feature that allows members to monitor live feeds of friends and member organizations. Members can also choose to monitor news feeds of specific stories that Facebook believes will interest you. This allows organizations to release news and garner feedback from readers.

2. The new design features help groups to function the same way Facebook Fan Pages operate. Facebook group pages now operate similar to those of member pages and the organization's page interacts in the same manner as member-to-member feeds.

These upgrades to Facebook Groups make them more useful to groups using them for networking purposes, but using Pages remains the preferred way to grow an organization's presence on this social networking site. For instance, Groups is a great place for big non-profits to initiate member-to-member discussions about projects being undertaken by the organization.

Meanwhile, Twitter.com recently upgraded its "Lists" function with a feature that assists users in organizing their information lists as well as its people list. Twitter's allows members to organize "Twitterers" in much the same way users organize "Friends" lists on Facebook.

Twitter lists may be used to organize the "Twitterers" that are important to the organization. When the group lists "Twitterers," it signifies to them that they are a significant member of an online community since it registers on their profile that they've been listed by the organization.

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