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Social networking for small business

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Since the introduction of the internet, the opportunities for small online businesses to connect with clients have increased exponentially. There are now more creative and innovative ways to improve business relations than ever before. Online social networking has come into the spotlight in recent times for being a great way to connect, not only with potential clients, but with other businesses. It is generally free or low-cost, and can be instituted as a marketing technique without some of the risks of other marketing avenues.

There is a growing number of social networking sites available that are geared specifically toward businesses. A good example is LinkedIn.com, a business networking site that has become very popular for its ease of use and general usefulness to business owners. Users create a profile which can then be viewed by others users; individuals can create ‘groups’ of networked professionals and recommend other contacts to each other. LinkedIn also allows users to post information about events, jobs and business opportunities.

Facebook has also become a common marketing tool amongst tech-savvy business owners looking to broaden their exposure. Again, a profile can be created that allows for communication with large groups of networked individuals. Those with a Facebook profile can join other Facebook networks, post links to their page, upload photos and more.

Twitter offers a fairly unique approach to social networking. It works around micro-messages, known as “tweets,” which can be up to 140 characters long. These are then shared with “followers.” Twitter is often used effectively by businesses to update potential or existing clients on the latest events, such as sales, that the business wants to promote or just to remind followers of their presence with reminders of the kinds of services offered.

These are just a few of the social networking sites available to business owners looking to increase their professional and client networks. It is worth exploring a variety of options, to further increase market exposure.

A regularly updated blog (sometimes available in conjunction with social networking sites) can be an excellent tool when used alongside social networking. On one hand, businesses can direct networked individuals to the blog to learn more about the business. On the other hand, links contained within the blog can lead back to the social networks that have already been created, and so expand those social networks.

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