What is Social Networking
And How Can it Help Your Business


What is Social Networking?

socialnetIt’s a small world. And now with the existence of online social networking, this statement is almost a fact. The ability of social networking to reach millions of people, and connect them is only one of the few wonderful things about it. What's the real deal with social networking? How does it work and why is it becoming more and more popular? More importantly, how can a business benefit from it?

What is Social Networking / It's a Whole New World  
Brian Satterfield wrote in his article, “What can Social Networking Do for your Organization”, that social networking concerns people connecting with other people of similar interests, and sharing information with them.  According to Andrew Churches, writer for Educators’ eZine on TechLearning, social networking is where individuals create networks of friends and associates by building links between different people. So, what is social networking?

Technically, it is three things put together: people, a space to share information and the capacity to connect to other people. It’s very much similar to real networking where people meet face-to-face except for a few significant and advantageous differences, such as easy access to networks of your connections, or easier ways of sharing and finding information. Sounds a lot like the answer to the question, "What is Marketing", or "What is the Definition of Viral Marketing?"

Nowadays, there are many types of social networking sites that allow this activity. So many individuals from all over the world take part in social networking that business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers see this as a good opportunity for advertising, widening their own networks or expanding their businesses. You can find out more tidbits and social networking articles by surfing the net or googling your favorite hobby interest or business focus.

The Power of Social Networking for Businesses

What is social networking for businesses that its advantages are just too good to miss? It is real networking upped to a higher level, where people are able to find contacts faster, meet and interact with each other faster, and get access to more information and even more people! Plus, the following benefits are just too good to be true!

What is Social Marketing / Low Cost Advertising
For businesses, customers are very important. Unfortunately, customers don’t just appear out of nowhere, and this is why advertising techniques are a must for any business. But, social networking allows for any kind of business to create a profile and let people (potential customers) know about them for FREE! That's why social networking should be part of any smart Viral Marketing Campaign.

Of course, getting a good network for the profile takes work and time, but the network built can mean access to so many customers, and potential customers, too!

What is Social Marketing / Targeted Audience
So, you’re a business who wants to focus on real potential customers? With social networking sites, it usually isn’t so difficult to find a group or community of people who share the same interests.

With this kind of feature, it is so much easier to find a specific group of people and tell them about your business. And if what you’re selling is what they’re interested in, you’re bound to find a customer there somewhere.

What is Social Marketing / Easier Ways to Find Contacts
In need to contact a particular person, company, or group of interested individuals? In real life, it takes some time and much effort to get to know some really important people. With social networking, it takes a few seconds to do a search in a social networking site database to give you a list of people who match what you’re looking for. It’s even better than searching in the yellow pages!

What is Social Marketing / Wider Network
In real life networking, adding a contact is most equivalent to creating a relationship with one person. In social networking, adding a contact not only allows you to form a business relationship with him/her, but also allows you access to his/her contacts and gives you the opportunity to expand your network.

What is Social Marketing / Additional Credibility
The first thing that a new contact will usually do after you add him/her to your contact list is to see who you’re connected with. The fact that s/he will discover that you’re a friend of one of his/her friends can always be an added factor to your credibility. 

The Top Ten Social Networking Sites:

1. LinkedIn: What is Social Networking to LinkedIn? It’s big Business. Form partnerships, make recommendations, and meet up with professionals in your city. Their organized sites makes the business of making business connections a breeze.

2. Ecademy: Are you interested in growing an existing business? Then joining  Ecademy should be on your to-do list. Share your knowledge, increase your credibility, and grow your business here.

3. Ryze: What is Social Networking to Ryze? Raising your online reputation, and becoming involved in opportunities you never would have found otherwise. If you are interested in making quality contacts, creating joint ventures, and showcasing your latest and greatest…whatever, Ryze is the latest and greatest place online to get seen.

4. YorZ: Are you in need of work? You are past networking, you need employment…yesterday. YorZ is the site you need to visit. This is where you will find the most sought-after job opportunities for top professionals.

5. Xing: What is Social Networking to Xing? It’s serious business. If you want to meet other professionals that are dedicated, focused, and …dare I say-profesional-drop by Xing, and sign up.

6. Facebook: If you have never heard of Facebook, you may be an alien from another planet. If you are an earthling looking  to show off your business or promote some aspect of it, set up a profile immediately. This Network is huge-and it’s not just for little kiddies any more.

7. Care2: Interested in the carbon footprint your business is creating? Then Care2 may be right for you. Connect with the environmentally friendly groups, make connections and change the world.

8. Gather: What is Social Networking to Gather? As one member put it, “Real people, real lives, and real conversation make gather special.” So if you can handle “Real”, check out Gather.com

9. MEETin.org: MEETin.org is a word-of-mouth effort to bring people together from all over for fun, low-key events without paying membership fee's. MEETin Groups is an example on how the internet can be used as a powerful tool to help make new friends and find unique business opportunites without cost.

10. Tribe: What are Social Networking Websites to Tribe? The power of communities rule. Cities like Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, New York and Chicago have unique online communities on tribe. More than just a place to check out local restaurants and businesses (although you can do that too), connect with like-minded professionals in your area, and find opportunities and great jobs.

11. Ziggs: What is Social Netwroking to Ziggs? Presenting yourself in the best light possible. Ziggs boasts that they “have the most elegant profile style available on the Web.” Ask for advice or referrals, reconnect to friends you thought you lost, and network till you drop.

12. Plaxo: Join Plaxo to organize your contacts and stay updated with feeds from Digg, Amazon.com, del.icio.us and more.

13. NetParty: What is Social Networking to NetParty? Business does not mean you can’t have fun. NetParty was named best of the web by Forbes Magazine. If you are a mover and shaker in your 20s and 30s you will definitely want to invite yourself to this power party. Network with professionals and have fun.

14. Networking For Professionals: What is Social Networking for Networking For Professionals features such events as business networking events include their signature:  Shakers and Stirrers Business Networking Mixer, High Speed Networking, and Power Lunch.

At a symposium hosted by the Fox School’s Institute for Business and Information Technology, “Social Computing and Networking: Business Tool or Consumer Fad?”, moderator, Munir Mandviwalla, said that “Social networking is new and relevant for business use because it can enable employees to network with each other and exchange knowledge.”

So to answer the question, "What is Social Networking?", it is clear that they are a venue that any smart business person would be advised to take advantage of.

Indeed, social networking can be an excellent business tool for an individual who can use it wisely to promote and advertise business affairs, and share information with colleagues or customers. It may take time but the relationships that you can create and manage may become very valuable to your business.

Online social networking makes individuals meet in the virtual world, which allows anyone to connect with more people faster. Adding a friend to your contact list immediately gives you access to their friends and your network expands even more.

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

See the Gen Y version of the Top 10 Social Networking Sites list. Just for the brilliant youth.

MySpace Social Networking. Click here to find out how to make the most of your membership.

Everybody's got a cell phone right? That's why you have to check out Mobile Social Networking.

Discover Social Networking Benefits that you never knew about.

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

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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