Social Marketing Optimization

B2B Social Networking

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

: Many of us communicate on social networking sites such as Facebook in our leisure time. They're a good way to keep up with our friends' news and they give us the opportunity to stay in contact with people we may otherwise have little contact with. Used for B2B marketing social networking is turning out to be very lucrative.

Social networking has the power to 'shrink' the world and render it an easily navigable place.

Therefore location is no longer an issue. It matters not people are situated globally; they can get in contact and stay in contact with ease. There's great pleasure to be derived from having communications with friends old and new across the world.

Apply this in a business setting and something very impactful begins to happen - networking is a highly powerful tool for businesses, once again it makes small the world and let's you 'go' anywhere you desire, but it's not all about shrinking, B2B social networking also broadens horizons. B2B marketing via social networking is getting great results for businesses worldwide.

Here's why you might consider using social networking as a part of your B2B marketing campaign:

Combining business with pleasure isn't frowned-upon as once it was. Actually in the internet environment it is encouraged and the setting itself designed to accommodate it. Networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook have long enjoyed popularity. Though these two were predominantly used for pleasure/personal purposes all kinds for businesses are seeing the value of having a presence on each. MySpace tends to be more music oriented in business terms, with bands setting up pages. Facebook, perhaps because it is used by a wider range of age groups, is broader and you'll find businesses from all industries featured there. Social networks that are specifically set for business purposes are plentiful, think LinkedIn and Ryze, to name but two.

All the sites operate on similar principals although many relate to specific industries. For example, there are social networking communities that mostly cater to franchise businesses or, even more specifically, the fast food industry.

The act of linking to others around world instantly expands your prospective audience. In theory you're linked not only to your immediate friends online, but also everyone they know. So it goes on down the line. It would be impossible to estimate the number of potential contacts that can be made by introducing social networking to your B2B marketing. However, you can probably see how far reaching such communications can be by analyzing your personal Facebook or MySpace pages. If you aren't a member of either, what happened? And why not? But seriously, if you've not yet started networking ask to view a close friend's page, with their consent, to see how easily valuable, multiple connections are made. With savvy you can build a large B2B network. Bear in mind, it's not just for flash in the pan affair; you can build contacts that have the potential to last a lifetime.

Online there are hundreds of networking sites, some prove more popular or are more widely recognized than other sites. Most of them offer free membership; a few do request a nominal registration fee. If you're taking your maiden voyage on the B2B social networking ship, perhaps consider giving a free site a try. That way you can see, at no cost, how you can use this social method of boosting your business online.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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