Social Networking Benefits
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Social Networking Benefits

Why join a social network group like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster or LinkedIn?  What are its benefits and disadvantages?  Do businessmen and businesses really need social networking sites?

These questions are probably in the minds of most businessmen as social networking websites are now the talk of the town.  These sites are among the most visited in cyberspace.  They are diverse in terms of members, easily accessible and best of all free for everybody. 

Social Networking Benefits / Why Join?

Because its Free!  Most social networking sites are free to use.  You just sign up, and presto, your very own corner in the web.  This is the best reason to join social networking sites.  MySpace for example is translated in 15 different languages.  It has over 100 million members and increasing everyday.  Imagine having access to that number everyday, with just a few clicks. 

Most of these sites also have specific targeted demographics.  Facebook is geared towards the high school and collegiate crowd.  LinkedIn is more for professionals like bankers and financiers.  So by registering to specific sites, you have access to your specific market. 

Social Networking Benefits / Opportunities Abound

Social networking sites may also lead to opportunities.  Like they say, it’s who you know.  People in your network and extended network may actually know somebody who could be interested in your product or service.  And because social networks are interconnected through the people you know, searching for a common friend or contact is as easy as clicking a friend’s profile and browsing through his contacts. 

Let’s say for example that your product is targeting mothers who need baby products and you only have one mother in your personal network, but chances are this friend of yours has other friends who are mothers as well.  Since the both of you are in the same network, browsing through her list of friends and reading through their profile is easy as pie.  So now, you do not only have access to your friend but her friends as well.

Social Networking Benefits / How Do People See You?

Social networking sites also give you the opportunity to present a good image.  When you create your profile, make sure that you let your good points and stellar qualities shine.  Put your best foot forward.  A good image will make visitors feel that you are really providing what you advertise.  A good image also says that you care about your reputation and the product. 

Social Networking Benefits / Strictly Business

LinkedIn recently benefited from the economic crisis by doubling the size of its members.  As of date, LinkedIn has over 30 million members and reports say that a new member is signing up every second.  LinkedIn executives say that this trend is likely to continue as the economic crisis deepens and employees need to establish contacts, look for jobs and find sources of possible employment.  LinkedIn would be the perfect social networking website for posting professional services which you can offer. 

Another social networking website, Meettheboss attracts top level executives and is only open by invitation.  Meaning you do not only have to be high on the management ladder, you also have to know somebody on the inside.  Gaining membership to such an exclusive network gives you the advantage of hob knobbing with people who make the wheels turn, the top brass. 

Social Networking Benefits / The Flip Side

Perhaps the biggest turn-off for social networking sites is that because it is open to anybody and everybody, you are not really sure who is a legitimate member, meaning the member is honest about his profile, and who is just a product of fiction.  You may be swayed into thinking that just because a social networking site has millions of members; it does not mean to say that all of these users are active, real or are genuinely attracted to your product or service.  Of course there are a lot of people who sign-up and have good intentions but, you have to be wary too. 

For example: Facebook is supposedly only open to people with .edu email addresses, so you might think that all of its members are students, teachers, school staff or alumni.  What most people forget is that it is easy to sign-up to .edu sites, and some webmaster might forget to check-up on the facts of the applicant signing up, so fooling Facebook would be easy. 

Privacy is an issue too.  MySpace was recently in the news due to a stalking incident where one member stalked the other by using her address posted on her profile.  So if you don’t want unwarranted attention, stay safe by not putting your exact location onto your page.  Of course you may want other people to know say for example the location of your store (if you have one), or your email address, you can hand these out by private messaging, which is one of the most common social networking feature. 

Sources for additional info:

Find out more about how social networking can maximize your bottom line:

What is Social Networking? Discover the basics and a while lot more.

Got a cell phone? Then you need to go to the Mobile Social Networking page.

What are the New Social Networking Sites? Find out here.

See the best. See our Top 10 Social Networking Sites page.

Go to the MySpace Social Networking page and learn how to make the most of your membership.

What is YouTube? Find out how this phenomenon can help grow your business.

What could be better than YouTube? Check out the YouTube Competition page.

What is Flickr? Discover the best photo-sharing social networking site...or is it?


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