For many people networking either in a business or personal sense is absolutely essential. Some people thrive on the social nature of interacting with other people, while others use it to their advantage, and still others use it to build profits within their business. There is no doubt that without networking for either business or personal reasons the world would grind to a halt.
While networking in a person to person sense, as has been and continues to be done literally every second that passes all around the world, will continue. There is also a much newer and potentially even more extensive and adaptive option which has become an absolute cornerstone or many people’s networking. It is the power of networking via the internet. Now you would imagine in the way that i have explained it here it is some brand new phenomenon not known by many, however it is known by literally millions of people. While millions of people know about and use it every day, there is still a very large group that do not know or have not seen the power that is available through creating networks on the internet.
There are many different technologies, websites and forms that social networking can appear to you through, and realistically to even consider discussing in depth a handful of them would literally deserve a site all to itself, i just wanted to share a few of the more popular and main stream options you have available to begin building social networks. You will find that most of what i discuss below in this post can be used both from a business point of view as well as a personal point of view, and really it just depends how you use it, what results you will achieve.
Really social networks on the internet have existed to some degree ever since the internet first was available. Bulletin boards and usenet groups were some of the early methods, and things have gradually progressed from there through forums, sites like myspace and facebook and also blogging, and a range of other sites that allow you to connect with friends and business contacts.
Participating in discussion forums was i believe my first real social interactions on the internet. From time to time there has been many different forums on different topics that i have participated in, on different topics from business, to Internet development, and gaming, plus a few others. Discussion forum’s for the most part can be used successfully for personal and business network building, however it does depend a lot on the focus of the board as to the usefulness as a way to increase your business sales for example.
The greatest benefit that you can gain from participating in forum’s is the wide variety of experience that you can connect with in the form of other members. It helps you to greatly expand your local perspective to take in a moe global connection with others. Where you can sometimes limit yourself in a local area to the amount of experience you can connect with in other people, once you join a discussion forum you have a much greater breadth of experience that you can connect with.
Some good examples of some of the forums that i visit include
MYSPACE – http://www.myspace.com
Myspace offers a similar experience to forum’s only at a whole different level, rather then communicating on a single topic, with a defined group of people. You are literally able to communicate with any members, on any topic of mutual interest. You can connect at a local level with your friends, or family, as well as the many opportunities to connect with others who may or may not be acquaintances already.
From a personal point of view Myspace is one of the easier ways to connect with friend’s online, especially friends that are not necessarily living near by. From a business point of view, there is some good points and bad points. One of the good points is the size of the potential market, especially for web markets, you go from limited reach locally to a global reach. On the flip side there are some downfalls as well, such as myspace is primarily designed as a social tool, which depending on your business is not always greatly beneficial.
FACEBOOK – http://www.facebook.com
Facebook is a very similar site to Myspace, most of the same features and tools are available, however from my personal point of view i prefer facebook, it is easier to use in my opinion. While many of the same things are true of facebook as they are in myspace, facebook seems to have a little more potential for business. There is the ability to set up pages and allow others to connect with your business through those pages. Additionally through the pages option advertising on the facebook site is quite quick and easy to set up.
LINKEDIN – http://www.linkedin.com/
For a more business focused networking site, there is the option of LinkedIn. While it is primarily geared towards a personal presence, it does so in a very business focused way. Your profile is more directed towards almost being like your resume, and your connections are more likely to be with business associates than friend’s unless it is someone that falls into both categories.
While the site does have potential for business network building which could help you build your business, it is also limited unless you are a paying member.
Today i have just discussed a couple of the Social networking tolls that are available to you in both a business and personal sense. Making use of these tools to their fullest potential is however something that would require a lot more time to discuss, and something that is really being still very much debated even by long term veterans, of the Internet. As it stands while the tools are available no one has really mastered what i believe is a repeatable process.
Finally as with any sort of marketing or business you need to integrate it as a part of your plan, and see how it works, before even considering it as a large part of your plan. Even if it does do some amazing things for your business don’t forget the other area’s of marketing in your plan, and ensure you don’t leave yourself vulnerable to this one area failing at some point in the future.