What is networking? Networking is the act of meeting new people in a business or social context. Networking is something that everyone experiences pretty much daily. Meeting someone new at the coffee shop in the morning or going to a conference and trading business cards. Networking sets up future interactions and mutually beneficial relationships among two or more people, businesses, or institutions.
Why is networking important? Networking comes in many different shapes and forms. For example, networking with potential clients and customers differs from networking with potential resources and manufacturers. Being knowledgeable of the different types of networking and how to network within each will definitely show positive results. In the end, you will have stronger contacts and a better platform with which to run your business off of
Social Networking sites are extremely important when it comes to networking. The most popular social networking sites to date are: Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, in terms of overall users and traffic. All 3 are invaluable resources that are key to almost any business’ success in this day and age. The ability to connect and communicate with people all over the world in a matter of seconds has made networking online extremely easy and important.
Twitter: Twitter is a free, real-time short messaging service that allows people from all over the globe to connect and read about what others are doing. I use Twitter allows us to quickly send out information to a large group of people (followers) and lets us see what is going on with them (following). For any established or upcoming business or brand, sign up for your own Twitter account today and begin using it.
MySpace: For an upcoming brand, MySpace can be a valuable tool. You set up a page with your brand name, pictures of your products, info on the brand, and maybe a link or two to your website/webshop and you’re good to go.
Facebook: Facebook allows you to create a fan page of your business, brand, cause, etc. and suggest to your friends that fan page. People who aren’t your friends can also “Become a Fan” and follow updates that you make along the way. There are no crazy layouts on Facebook, but you can still include pictures of your products, links to external sites, and a brand bio.
By no means are these the only social networking sites. There are easily hundreds of sites you can join to get your business out there. A couple of them are Digg, Flickr, DeviantArt, and LinkedIn. Each of these has a specific genre or theme to them. For example, Flickr is all about pictures, DeviantArt is about art/design, and LinkedIn is about business. (All of my social networking links can be found at the end of the article.)