What is Social Networking?
Dictionaries will tell you a social network is a map of the relationships between individuals. Taking this a step farther, social networking software is software that helps you build relationships online. It is well known that relationships sell and relationships are what drive businesses, associations, non-profits, communities, partnerships and more. The last few years have seen social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook take off. Is this just fun stuff? What place does it have in businesses? How can I design my website to take advantage of social networking tools?
Everyone knows what a community is, but what is social networking or an online community, really? How can social networking software tools help me to build my online community and stay in better touch with my customers?
Social networking is all about connecting with people. In the case of associations, social networking can bring association members together by helping them to stay connected with each other through online directories, blogging, discussion forums, event calendars and more. Social networking software can be useful to small businesses and take seemingly simple tools "for fun" and making them work for business and drive revenue.
How can social networking software tools help drive revenue?
Easy. The more you learn about your customers, association members, website members, fans and partners, the better you can serve them and the better you can deliver exactly what they are looking for. This can include more appropriate, targeted ads to your website visitors, but it can also include providing the right kind of content on your website to keep customers coming back to your site. For many membership based websites, the "free stuff" on your website that is fun, such as blogs and photo galleries, can get customers interested enough in what you have to offer to buy products or services from you. Additionally, the right use of social networking software can keep customers returning to your website over and over. This can lead to more sales on your website, to more customer referrals and it helps keep your company top of mind with customers and members.