As a small business it is vital that you reach out and connect with web users who can positively influence your presence on social networks and drive potential clients towards your site. Small business networking is a powerful marketing tool, and levels the playing field with larger businesses, who before had the upper hand with big budget mass media advertising. Today, networking for small businesses allows companies to connect with some very influential groups and individuals, who can market your products and services on your behalf in a more organic sense, i.e. via word of mouth and good press. There are the five primary groups of powerful people that you want to connect with on the web for the best small business network solutions.
Like in high school, you get those people who are known by everyone and who know everyone on the web. These individuals and avatars absolutely love making connections on your behalf and will take pleasure in initiating introductions, doing the small business networking for you. Social butterflies are a powerful social networking group as their connections reach far. Make contact groups in social network groups like Facebook and LinkedIn and see what names overlap- that’s them.
The Thought Leaders
These are the voices of reason on the Internet, who people turn to for advice and guidance. To find this small business social networking group and individuals see whose content gets tweeted and retweeted and is commented on constantly. They speak at events and leave comments on authoritive sites. It must be said that it is not easy to get recognised by the thought leaders as they are bombarded with message and invitations every day. Prove yourself by sharing valuable information and leads. Word of advice, stick to the thought leaders in your niche.
The small business social networking group of the reporter is large, ranging from print professionals to bloggers. Look out for their names and avatars in the bylines of articles. You need to make sure that you make the connections and offer them fresh and interesting content about your business. In exchange for this, the reporter can give you three things, press, coverage and inbound links, which are great for driving traffic to your site. Look out for them at small business networking events and source names from online blogs, forums and news sites.
Last but not least we have the everyday consumer. As individuals they may have a smaller circle of influence, but are great for developing small business networks. They have one very powerful tool- the word of mouth. Research shows that users trust recommendations from peers way more than any marketing message. Gain their trust and you are well on your well, especially if you offer local services wiithin tightly woven communities. To make connections with the consumer you have to utilize as many social networking sites as possible. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, an excellent small business networking site, are the obvious places to start. Post interesting content frequently and ensure that you constantly delivering what the user needs. Participate in discussions on industry specific forums and offer free advice; it may well just lead you to some great business.
Penny Munroe is an avid writer in online marketing and aims to educate readers on how to best utilize online platforms. Originally based in the executive suits California offer, Munroe has now temporarily relocated to the offices Oxford has in order to follow British marketing trends.