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Using Social Media to Build Your Bail Business

Are you promoting your business on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or LinkedIn? If your company is not represented online, you are missing opportunities to market your business, share information with other bail agents, build great connections, keep track of clients and keep your fingers on the pulse of the industry. In 2009 social media grew at exponential rates. People communicated online more than ever and those trends are expected to continue in 2010. With 350 million users, Facebook is the second most visited website on the web, MySpace just added it's 15th language site, Twitter experienced a monthly growth of 1,382% per month and LinkedIn is connecting professionals across the nation. Social media takes time to learn and use effectively, but is a free resource and a great way to expand your marketing to reach millions of users.

What is Social Media? Which ones should I be using?
The idea behind social media is keeping in touch with people you already know and building relationships with those you don't. Social media is driven by a variety of content, but is based around personal information of the users. With a variety of sites, you may be wondering what sites work best for you and your business.
Facebook - Facebook is a networking site that allows users to connect with friends, share photographs and update followers on every-day-life. The website geographically targets users by city, state and region. Additionally users can join networks based on specific interests, workplace and school. Businesses benefit from building fan pages where clients add notes to the page while the business keeps followers up-to-date. *
MySpace - Myspace became the most popular social networking site in 2006, to soon be surpassed by the popular Facebook. It allows users to build a profile, add friends and connect with businesses that interest them. Much like Facebook, users share photos, interests and updates of day-to-day life. *
Twitter - Twitter is considered to be a micro-blogging site, which enables users to send out small messages known as tweets. Tweets are posts of up to 140 characters that are sent out to a user's followers. In essence, Twitter is a news aggregate that allows users to share interesting news articles, promotional offers and day-to-day information on their lives. Users find and follow other tweeters and in response are found and followed. Twitter users connect with similar businesses, potential clients and use applications specific to their industry. One such application, known as TweetLaw, compounds legal tweets. With categories for bail agents and criminal attorneys, you can connect with other agents and begin networking with criminal attorneys online. *
LinkedIn -Mainly used for professional purposes, LinkedIn connects people based on workplace, profession and education. It can be used to find jobs, connect and network with industry leaders, find business opportunities and discuss topics within industry based groups. *

Keeping Track of Your Clients
You may see the benefit of being connected to friends via social media, but how can this positively affect your bail bonds business? Take for instance the story last June of a 20 year old student who was arrested after the social networking site Facebook featured photographs of her drinking, which violated the conditions of her bail. Although the story is interesting, it is not unique. Many people who have eluded bail or violated the terms of bail leave a trail online.Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook have incredible potential when used to the advantage of bail agents, providing immediate-and constantly updated-access to clients. One of the greatest advantages of using social media to keep tabs on your clients is the transparency. Friend and follow all of your clients on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter and you'll have instant access to their daily activities, what they are doing and where they are located.

Networking & Marketing Your Business via Social Media
Remember that the more frequently you expose your business name to potential clients, the more likely they are to remember your name when they need bail services. Social media can provide an excellent compliment to your existing marketing and advertising plan. With these mediums you can build strong online relationships and establish yourself as an expert in the bail industry.
With sites like Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn, you can connect your page to your clients' by becoming their friends. If your pages are interesting and informative, a buzz will be generated about your business and more people will pass the information along to their networks. The more friends and followers you have, the more your business will grow. Friends, commenters, re-tweeters and site hits are the currency that ultimately translates into free advertising.

Using Social Media Effecively
When you join these sites, awareness is the key to your success. You are immersing yourself in the social media world to build relationships. Simply getting online and posting 'XYZ Bail Bonds will Bail You Out in NY, NY' twice a day will not garner new and/or stronger relationships. It will make people mad and encourage them to block you from their social feeds. The key to your success is taking the time to build relationships, post newsworthy stories, comment on other peoples' and other companies' pages, join groups and re-tweet newsworthy stories. There is nothing wrong with promoting your own business, but keep those posts to a minimum and keep your messaging creative.
With a bit of creativity, strong messaging, newsworthy stories and a strong network, it's not a stretch to parlay these mediums into profit for your business. By making friends with clients and other businesses you'll be using the Internet as a marketing tool, thus doing smarter business in 2010.

Get Started Today
Don't let the opportunity for growth get away from you. Sign up today! If you don't know where to start, give a few a try, after several months see what works for your business and stick with it. Are you making better connections with similar businesses on LinkedIn? Are you getting client referrals from Facebook? Maybe your Twitter page has a loyal following. Whatever the case, don't wait for others to get there before you do. Using these sites to their fullest extent is a great way to expand your business with the limitless resource of the Internet.
*Because we practice what we preach, feel free to Friend us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Connect to our LinkedIn Group and Join our MySpace network.

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