In a word, extraordinarily. But if you are reading a blog like this, you probably already know that.
Social networking has become a critical part of the business landscape and it is only going to get bigger. The more technology we get it, only makes sense that what we used to do at old fashion cocktail parties and discuss on the golf course, will migrate online. It used to be places like MySpace were for teens to hang out at, that idea evolved into facebook where an older group hangs out. Now with sites like Biznik and LinkedIn, social networking for business has exploded.
As it has always been, it’s all about leverage. On Wall Street leverage means borrowing money to invest in something that will have a good profit to risk ratio. In social networking for business it means gathering groups of people together with similar interests but possibly vastly different skill sets to provide a better product. This is not a new idea, just a little different spin on it.
From the moment of our birth, we begin the organic formation of a “network”. It starts with our family and gradually includes friends we make. Over time in both our professional and personal life we naturally form a network based on expertise and affinities. We are drawn to those with whom we share interests. Not at all new or surprising. Until it gets applied to business.
Very few businesses can provide their customers with the whole package. I will give you a real life example. Our company Connectzone.com sells cables and connectivity devices. Let’s say we get a customer who is starting a new business and needs some cables. Well it is quite likely that customer also needs computers, assistance setting up an in office network and programming it. That customer probably also needs a website built. So if Connectzone.com has an established “network” of people who can fill ALL the needs of the customer, it’s good for the customer and Connectzone.com. It’s also good for Connectzone.com’s “network” of trusted partners who can offer their resources. That’s leverage.
Let’s talk about another angle where social networking is important to business. If you have a company facebook page or internal company blog-you can keep employees up to date-worldwide on what’s going on with your business. It is like having a company blackboard. As an added bonus by blogging/facebooking with your employees you will likely find hidden skill sets you didn’t know about. For example I just recently found out my employees know how to take really good pictures of little teeny tiny connectors, which is important if I want them posted on my website. Nowhere on any of their resumes did it say “I am really good at taking pictures of teeny tiny things with an expensive complicated camera”.
Socializing is fun. Let’s be honest, if you are living in reality you already should know your employees socializing anyway-be it texting-talking or emailing, so why not make it beneficial to everyone including the business.
It’s economical. Offline business networking isn’t free. Even at expensive high end events you won’t necessarily be guaranteed to find who you need to meet. By contrast online business networks allow members to seek introductions with confidence through a friend to a trusted business contact and that as we all know is invaluable.
A short time ago I was very ignorant to the importance of social networking and frankly kind of hesitant to take it on. But it seems like every new piece of technology we get, somehow cosmically implies we as humans should produce more. A new time saving device like email-saves us from a 3 minute phone call-so we should maximize that left over 3 minutes. My parents who passed long before the age of email would never understand why anyone needs 3 email accounts or a facebook page. Alas, social networking is of growing importance and I am going to embrace it as the alternative appears to be getting trampled in a massive online migration.
What are your thoughts?