Using Social Networks: Leaving the Hype To Build Your Business

Social Networking is simply exploding in media attention and actual use – by some users.

The founder of Second Life is featured on the cover of Inc. Magazine this month, Myspace is talked about all the time and other social networks are used and talked about as well.
While I think social networking (including LinkedIn) and other web sites are popular and arguably useful tools the real benefit to business is not using these social networks but making your web site come to life by using these social networks to make your OWN network.
Instead of thinking about putting a video on Youtube, what if you encourage your customers to upload video testimonials about their products?
Startupjournal writes Over the summer, sports-apparel maker Nike Inc. set up a social-networking site, Joga.com, for soccer enthusiasts. The site, built with some technical help from search engine Google Inc., encourages local soccer groups to sign up and create profile pages. Fans can blog, create communities around particular teams or players and organize local games. The site also includes pictures and exclusive video, profiles of famous players and articles about various styles of play. Nike says that by the end of the World Cup games last July, Joga.com had attracted one million users, the most recent data the company would disclose.
You might not have the money that Nike has, but there’s a lot you can do with little money, but some technical expertise or hiring a young programmer to help.
Sites like Mybloglog, recently purchased by Yahoo and Swicki which gives searches on your web site the “power” of the social network.
What you want to consider is empowering your existing audience, your existing customers to build their own social networks around your products, on your web site.
Do read what I wrote about the New Media Exchange Group meeting I recently went to, for more information on this topic.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook