What is Social Networking for Business?
Social networking for business refers to the strategic use of social networking websites in the achievement of specific business goals. A social networking website is an online platform that connects individuals and groups who share certain social relationships. The relationship between the members of a social network site can range from shared interests, family or friendship bonds, or common activities and experiences.
Businesses can make effective use of social networks by advertising on them, promoting word of mouth news pieces, conducting market research, as well as answering customer feedback and questions. Some businesses are even using social networks in order to collaborate with other businesses and consumers in developing products during the production process.
The Major Business Social Networks
Since social networking relies on an active membership base, businesses should join and participate in the most popular social networking websites. This will allow businesses to interact with the largest group of people possible. The following is a list of the most popular social networks that businesses can join, use and interact with customers and other potential joint partners.
Facebook is the leading social networking service all over the world. It has close to 1 billion active users, and in the United States, about 41% of the population own a Facebook account.
Businesses can set up a dedicated Page account. In this business account, the business can then share news updates, pictures, videos, and can provide information about thier products and services such as special deals. A unique feature of Facebook is the “Like Button”, and many businesses are keen to grow their number of “Likes”. The more “Likes” that a business has, the more social proof that it can show off to others of its popularity.
Businesses can also use Facebook to advertise on the website to specific demographics of people and to people with specific likes and interests. This can be a powerful tool for businesses to reach a very targeted niche market anywhere in the world.
LinkedIn is another social networking site, but its diferentiating factor is that it is more of a professional and business-related social network. Unlike Facebook which focuses more on social and casual interactions, LinkedIn concentrates on professional and business interactions. As such, employees within a business can set up a LinkedIn account, and the most prominent information that will be shown about LinkedIn members will be their professional history and work experience.
Businesses can use LinkedIn to find high quality workers or contractors via its database. Businesses can also use this social network to discover potential business partners and contacts, in order to research and understand them more before approaching them formally.
Twitter is another major social network, but differs from the other 2 in that it describes itself as the “pulse of the planet.” Twitter focuses less on the personal and professional information of its members, and more emphasis is placed on the online conversation amongst people.
Businesses can start up their own business account on Twitter and can use it to communicate with customers to give updates and customer service. Businesses with a Twitter account can even ask questions and do market research of their their target market. Employees within a business can also use Twitter to easily communicate with each other.
A Final Word About Business Social Networking
Social networking for business is becoming increasingly popular. Many of the leading companies in the world already have a range of social networking accounts on different sites and are using them effectively. Whereas, there are still several tradtional businesses that have never heard of the term “social networking.” Is your business using social networking, or are you being left behind?