It’s odd that it’s taken so long for social software to make inroads in the business world. Social networking has a natural home in the enterprise because the relationships there have a purpose.
James uses twitter and his wife hung out on Facebook for a while. I never joined any particular network, because I just didn’t see the point. It’s just a bunch of folks hanging out, after all. I’d much rather do that in person.
I eventually signed up for LinkedIn, because it was a good way of staying in touch with former coworkers. It’s also a great resource for finding a new job, and it sure beats carrying around a stack of paper resumes. But I only check in occasionally.
First thing first, whatever the industry, target market, field or the niche your offline business are in almost certainly has a relationship, and in today’s world few industry associations don’t have websites where the members can communicate about issues, trade referrals and all the other aspects of business networking. If the association of the industry you are in is helpful to you before, imagine how much more significant they would be to your offline business if they also become a hub of contact details and targeted leads for your business?
Secondly, all professional associations that cross the boundaries of the niche they are in, can be a major boost to the networking efforts of any business. For instance, retail councils, wholesaler associations, even advocacy groups, pressure groups, manufacturing associations, and even others have website where, with a bit of research and carefulness, you can get ways to extend your business community with social networking. It is safe to say that building relationships is essential to flourish a business and social networking is a great tool to do so.
Thirdly, there are the real social networking sites available online. These social networking sites are designed to cover all the areas of business for both offline and online businesses alike. LinkedIn, Facebook, and twitter are the most common examples where each employee or employer in a company have their own resume-style page where they can list what they do and for whom they are working with. You may also build company listing pages as well reflecting which members of that company have pages online. A glance at these sites can help you see a dream come true for an offline business looking for networking opportunities.
Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkdIn, and other Web 2.0 properties like Yahoo Buzz and Google Buzz aren’t designed particularly for the use of business professional. But at the same time social networking sites are extremely helpful to build a business community because the people targeting you never seem to be business utilitarian groups and thus it helps you make a personal relationship that in return indirectly helps you in your business enhancements. Allow your employees to educate each other for how to best represent your company on these social networking sites and then allow some time each day to network and make associations with the people. Efforts can help you to find suppliers, and get referrals to targeted leads. These efforts can even help you get more customer base to the online presence of you company and directly through the front doors of your offline business networking.