Five years ago, many people wouldn’t associate Social Networking with businesses.  Social Networking is where you use social media to network when you can’t meet someone face to face, and as social media evolves, more and more business owners are taking advantage of this avenue.

The vast majority of the population already uses Social Networking on a personal level to stay in contact with friends and family. They share pictures, related experiences and engage in conversations that used to have to be done in person.  As a business owner, you can use the Internet for so much more, and if you aren’t already you’re falling behind.

LinkedIn, arguably the world’s largest professional network on the internet, is the Facebook for business.  It’s not just about connecting with your professional colleagues; it’s a diversified network of groups, job opportunities and company research and business news

This doesn’t mean it’s the only option, or even the best option for your specific requirements.  There are literally hundreds of options with very niche focuses for academia, music, etc., so we’ll just give you three that are worth looking into.

http://www.talkbiznow.com
Talkbiznow is a web-based business community that provides business services for small businesses and professionals .

http://www.viadeo.com
Use the network to enhance your career prospects, discover business opportunities and build relationships with new contacts as well as to create effective online identities.

http://www.yammer.com
If you want to implement social media within your own company to collaborate securely across departments, geographies, content and business applications Yammer is worth looking into.

Investing the time to build your Social Network is an excellent way to increase your visibility and awareness amongst your target audience and increase web traffic to your company’s site. When engaging through the networks ensure you include links (website, Facebook, Twitter) that will point followers to new information posted on your blog or company website.

This keeps customers up-to-date with your latest promotions and offers. You can also utilize social networking tools such as HootSuite and Sprout Social to monitor conversations between customers. This is the perfect way to understand your customers – their likes and dislikes. You can take this feedback and improve the function of your business.

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