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Social networking tips that boost business

April 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Social networking websites can be a huge boost to business, but only if you know how to get the most out of them.

CEO Clara Shih is the woman behind Hearsay Social, one of the first companies to help businesses market themselves on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Shih's idea was to build a business application on Facebook, and she was the first to do it. Then, she wrote the bestselling book, "The Facebook Era," and now she runs a business that started out of her apartment. Two years later, she has more than 40 employees.

"She's the kind of person that when she's successful, she brings other people up with her," said Ally Russell, head of compliance at Hearsay Social.

Shih's simple secrets for business success are to find a great mentor, make moves when the time is right and surround yourself with a winning team.

"We just want people to work hard and play hard," Shih said.

Fifty-four percent of Fortune Global 100 companies already have a presence on Facebook, but Shih says one common mistake businesses make is not understanding the social media they are trying to use. She advises claiming your page so you have control of your brand and getting local. For retail, this might mean exploring check-ins by offering promotions. To acquire more fans, include a link to your social media page in your email signature, asking people to like it -- but always tell them why they should like it.

Shih says it takes dedication and long hours to run a business, but she does have one regret.

"I wish I would have started sooner!" she said.


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