Networking has been a tactic for building and marketing businesses long before the Internet. Web technology and the mass appeal of making connections online makes social networking an attractive channel for businesses that want to extend their reach, credibility and influence.
One way to increase the awareness of you, or your products and services is to have your website or Blog content show up on social networking and social bookmaking sites. Users of these social networks will hopefully discover your useful content and visit your site – possibly becoming returning visitors and growing your brand.
The premise is simple. You know people and so do other people. The more people you meet whether it is online or offline, the larger your network grows.
Here is a summary of some of the top social networking sites for business:
- Twitter – Micro-blogging site that is really gaining momentum. Limited to posts of 140 characters at a time.
- Digg – Started initially in the tech industry as a way to link and rank news and articles and has quickly spread to gaming, and off-the-wall. Digg is trying to widen their audience, but in my experience, many business-related articles are quickly lost in their huge amount of submissions.
- FaceBook – Started as college students only, but now open to all. Best for connecting with long-lost friends and for networking with acquaintances. There are business networks and groups, but FaceBook does not make it easy to separate close friends with business networking acquaintances.
- MySpace – Huge audience but losing some of its luster. Probably one of the more mainstream of the social networks, MySpace is heavily used by younger generations and by entertainment and music groups wanting to connect with their fans.
- LinkedIn – If I could pick one site for business it would be LinkedIn. Targets business users who want to keep track of their networking contacts. Businesses and individuals can join and create groups to promote themselves. This site really seems to be gaining momentum.
- Technorati – Started as a way to view news on tech blogs (hence the name) and see their ranking (as a function of how many other tracked blogs link to them) – is now used across many industries for an overview of what’s going on in the blogosphere.
- Your own Blog – Your own blog allows you to have complete control over your message. Although it is time consuming it can really pay dividends if you keep with it. I like WordPress.com but there are a number of good blogging services including Blogger, Typepad and LiveJournal.