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Why Use Social Networking?
Social networking sites are not just for teens looking to connect with their peers. There are social sites developed solely for business. Other sites do not distinguish their market, but just provide online services where personal and business related profiles exist side-by-side. Social networking sites provide opportunities for businesses to gain exposure, advertise their products and services, network with potential customers and suppliers, and even recruit people or partners to improve their business goals. The biggest difference with online communication media is that it is immediate and interactive. Companies can get their content or message out quickly and get feedback very quickly.
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The Best Social Network Sites for Marketing Your Business
Here are some social networking sites that businesses should consider being active participants:
Facebook - This is the new leader after passing MySpace.com in number of profiles online. Once popular with college students, Facebook provides promotional opportunities for company events. Facebook requires businesses to create a Facebook page to promote their business or events. Facebook, like MySpace, is popular with performing artists and public personalities.
LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a site for building personal networks based on affiliation. Groups like school or company alumni can remain in contact through LinkedIn. It is also a means of connecting with friends of friends as members share their network by default.
YouTube - Yes, YouTube. There are opportunities for businesses to create ‘How To’ videos in support of their products or even light, behind the scenes videos of some aspects of their business.
Digg - Digg gives members the opportunity to “Discover… Select… Share… Discuss" content they submit. Submitting company blog sites or informational support sites can bring increased traffic to your site. Content on Digg.com is almost completely user submitted.
Del.icio.us - Delicious.com allows users to save their bookmarked sites. Tutorials, blogs, and articles can be saved and tagged (Delicious lingo for labeled or categorized) for grouped searches.
Many of the social networking sites provide Application Programming Interfaces (API) to integrate their site into your website or application. Of course, there are dozens more social networking sites that businesses can use for communication and collaboration. Some examples include Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com for employment networking; Newsvine.com, Yahoo! Answers, and BrightHub.com for article and news exposure; Mixx.com and SmallBusinessBrief.com for news and driving traffic to your site and collecting feedback on it. Whichever you use to benefit your company, these sites provide valuable opportunities to share your product and service with the online community.