Not-So-Heralded Social Media for Business

t_newhard_kSocial Networking has become quite the thing, and it has happened quickly. I can still recall that when I was in college Facebook was just starting to become popular, it now has over 300 million members. Every eight days Facebook grows a Twitter worth of people (about 10M people).

Why does social networking matter for you, the business person? These things are for kids, right? Sort of.  Some social networking sites are for “kids,” but others work like extensions of your “in-person” business network. Is networking important to your business? If it isn’t, it should be. Social media is a way for you to take your business network to the next level by providing you with millions of prospective customers to engage while developing your value perception.

Many social networking sites are for connecting friends and family, like Facebook, but there are several sites set up to help you network with worldwide and local business communities. These are sites that encourage business networking, so you need not be afraid of promoting yourself and making connections for business sake.

  1. Linked In – Linked In is a free site and is the most popular business networking site out there. It has about 50 million members. However, I have always wondered if people join Linked In to build a network so that they can be recruited by someone else. Either way, the site lets you create groups, find old colleagues, send messages, build a very robust profile, and update your status like Facebook.
  2. Fast Pitch! – Fast Pitch! Is a pay site. The basic membership is free, but functionality is limited. One cool thing that Fast Pitch! offers is a Press Release function. Releases go out to a large network of Fast Pitch! members and it turns out that news organizations will sometimes pick stories up from the Fast Pitch! “newswire.” To get this feature and many of the useful features on Fast Pitch! you will have to pay $9/mo.
  3. BizNik – BizNik is another site that offers free basic memberships, but makes you pay for additional functionality. A second tier membership is $10/mo. BizNik is aimed at helping small businesses connect, especially at the local level.  Because of this, the effectiveness of BizNik kind of depends on where you live. For example, I searched for BizNik members in Salt Lake City, Utah and there are 76 people in the area that I can connect with. BizNik offers a few more features in its free package than Fast Pitch! does.