Social Networking for Business Owners

It drives my kids up the wall, I’m on Facebook and all their friends are now my friends. When I comment on something, they laughingly say “you’re stalking me, mom, I’m going to take you off my friend list”. (Hasn’t happened yet so I think they aren’t really serious about that.)

But what’s a 40 something year old (and a business owner at that) doing on Facebook?

People know Linkedin well, and don’t raise an eyebrow when asked if they are in linkedin. That’s because Linkedin is primarily used for professional networking. But you ask them if they are on Facebook or Twitter and they look at you like you’ve lost it.

I have a profile on all three and some more sites like ecademy, myspace (yeah, who wants to be there anymore?) and several other sites.

But I primarily use Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter. These sites allow me to form new business relationships. And by showing ongoing updates on both twitter and facebook, I keep in front of new contacts so that they become aware of me and my business.

I do choose who I wish to network with. I’m also a bit averse to connecting with someone who’s just going to bombard me with “buy this” messages. But all in all, posting comments on Facebook and Twitter has become second nature to me in the past few weeks.

So how has that helped me?

Well, I am now connected to people or offices which I could never reach without these social networking sites. I follow people like Barack Obama (truly!), Whitehouse, Governor Granholm, and many more. No, they are not my “friends” per say. But I can read what they are up to and they can read my posts (if they were so inclined). Pre-Facebook and Twitter, could you ever get that close to the president, governor, and the president elect and actually get a chance to do one-on-one messaging to them?

Have I closed new business yet?

As far as business goes, well, I can’t say that I’ve closed sales one after the other due to my social networking. But I can say that I’ve increased branding and visibility, there is a sure increase in traffic, and I have the opportunity to explore business alliances with more people than ever before.

Will it lead to definite lead generation and closure? Not sure! But will it benefit me in the long run? Absolutely!

It will benefit me because using social networking sites, I am able to network with people across the world and eventually those people will become my referral sources just as I will become theirs. And that is invaluable in business.

So folks, if you’ve not yet joined the social networking revolution, start now. Just focus on one or two sites first. And remember, creating a profile and doing nothing with it is not social networking. Networking, whether offline or online, requires effort.

It’s quick and easy to do. It will take time so be aware of it. Don’t get obsessed by it but be sure to do a little online networking every day. So go now and create your profile on Facebook, Twitter, and any other site that catches your fancy. And be sure to add me to your “friends” or “follow” list.

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