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 (www.flickr.com). 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.