But times have changed. Many of my clients ask me how to network, and how they can utilize that networking capability to build a larger client base. I tell them there is a new way to network that is very key to any business in this new age of the Internet. It's low cost, and it can be incredibly effective if done right...It's called Social Networking.
What exactly is social networking? According to one of my favorite sources, Wikipedia...
A social network service uses software to build online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others.And here's a great video to hep you better understand the concept of social networking. Thanks, Commoncraft!
Most services are primarily web-based and provide a collection of various ways for users to interact, such as chat, messaging, email, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups, and so on. Social networking has revolutionized the way we communicate and share information with one another in today's society. Various social networking websites are being used by millions of people everyday on a regular basis and it now seems that social networking is a part of everyday life.
As a marketer of pet businesses myself, I use a wide variety of social network tools to interact with my audience, prospects, and potential customers - everything from Twitter, and MySpace, to Dogster/Catster, YouTube and many more.
Utilizing social networking for business can be incredibly helpful in building your business...but there are 'rules' of social networking, that are important to building and maintaining your brand. In addition, there are key social networking sites that are very effective for a national level audience, and there are sites for a more localized audience. Knowing what social network and it's audience and users are suited for your purposes can make or break a social networking program.
I've been using social networking for about four years now in some form or fashion, and believe that it has helped tremendously in building my pet business, building my brand, creating dedicated and devoted champions of JohannTheDog.com (which I'm happy to say is getting a complete revamp in the next month) and it's related businesses. And it's helped me to make incredibly valuable contacts throughout my industry.
If you are not involved in social networking, right now, you should be. Contact us for more information on how this amazing networking tool can help you and your business.