Whether you link with people on LinkedIn, Tweet your day, or Facebook away, social networking sites make their presence felt in our everyday lives. These sites have become a way to keep in touch, create a buzz, update family and friends about the latest events in our lives, and generally make our presence felt. It goes to follow that it makes business sense to show up on these sites too. Look at the sheer reach of Facebook, the most popular networking site on the planet! With over 900 million people on the site and counting, your business gains a much wider audience, the likes of which you would have never imagined.
This idea of social networking sites for business especially works for small scale enterprises. If you are a mom who bakes like a dream, or you are a stay-at-home dad with amazing carpentry skills, these sites will help you reach out to clients at your pace and time. Imagine what your profile can do in LinkedIn with over 150 million users looking for employees, job and business opportunities. If you are from a younger demographic, you might be interested in MySpace, that allows you to experiment with music and connects you to a vibrant bunch of youngsters in the process. When companies use Twitter to create a buzz about their latest launches, they are using the simplest, least expensive tool available to them to do so.
Ultimately, a social networking site works because we wish to build relationships and form connections with those who are similar to us. If not that, we hope they have common interests and goals which will help us connect with them. The same logic can be used by companies to expose their products to a particular category of people.
But, does that mean the sites are more business oriented? I beg to disagree. While there are sites which are meant for business dealings, like LinkedIn and Upspring, the vast majority of social networking sites serve a different, larger purpose.
Considering that Facebook is so often quoted as a reason for the collapse of a marriage, it is an indication that more people are on these sites to meet other people than to further business! A cursory glance at these sites which show you an astonishing amount of personal data being shared- details of parties, phone numbers, holiday plans and celebrations. These sites are great way of keeping in touch with people without the physical act of keeping in touch; driving to a place, writing a letter, etc. We use sites to find lost loved ones, mend bridges with old pals and build foundations and closeness with new ones. While one may use it to network, build contacts and make more money, and there is nothing wrong with that, at the end of the day, a site is a way to connect and stay in people’s lives. That is worth more than any profit gained.