The big well-known social networking sites are great for  reaching a broad market and for reaching your friends and relatives. But there are more and more options open to the small business person these days. Many of  these are focused on your industry or neighborhood. Perhaps they don’t reach  millions, but sometimes it’s better to reach 20 people if they’re the right  people than reaching 2000 of a friend’s aunt’s bridge group’s circle.

Take the site Flickr, for example ( Share your family photos by  all means, but if you’re a professional photographer you can use this site to  build a network of your peers and find people who are interested in your work.

The big sites are valuable and fun, but they are not always  the best way to reach those who can benefit your company. The point here is to  explore all your options, or combine them to get the best results possible for  your business. Check with others in your line of work or get on the Internet  and do some searching. You’ll be amazed at how many business-specific sites  there are out there steadily building communities for a great variety of  professions, organizations and companies.

And if you use these opportunities for social networking,  remember it’s your business on the line out there. Commit to it, be reliable,  and more than anything, follow up. Those new customers are out there waiting for you.