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Expand your Business with Social Networking

Expand your Business with Social Networking

A Marketing article written by

Humans naturally form communities in the physical world around common interests, familiar relationships, geographic locations, and countless other factors.

We are invited into communities, seek out and join them, or stumble into them. In much the same way, social networking is fundamentally about forming communities, but in the virtual world via websites.

The Internet has developed several powerful new ways for people to communicate and collaborate across websites which exponentially expands the potential of a community network and opens up new ways for marketers to reach their audience. These tools include blogs, Wikis, instant messaging (IM), and chat rooms, and form the basis for a strong Online Marketing strategy. For example video and photo sharing sites like YouTube and iStock have created an enhanced networked effect among Internet users that has changed the way we communicate, where and how we congregate, and the way we seek and share website information.

Internet users are increasingly visiting social networking sites to enable us to develop networks of relationships around users and information such as entertainment, personal news, business relationships, product reviews, connecting with friends, dating, and more. But what's interesting is we are doing much more than just visiting, we contribute to the site content in the form of journal entries, photos, videos, and blogs, we become producers, artists, storytellers and authors.

The end result is that the value of these sites is derived not from content provided by the site’s owners, but instead from the users who provide a detailed map of their lives, interests, relationships, experiences, aspirations and much more.

I read an interesting book several years ago called "Driven" by Paul R. Lawrence which discussed the five core drivers which differentiate humans from other animals - the drive to Bond, the drive to Acquire, the drive to Learn, and the drive to Protect those we have bonded with and that which we have acquired and learnt. As I see it social networks deliver a vehicle to accelerate the first three of these drives and hence satisfies many of the instinctual needs we have as humans.

Is social networking here to stay? I believe we are just seeing the beginning of a new phase in human interaction and those of us who ignore this medium were probably the same people who said the Internet was a fad back in the 90’s! As business managers and owners we must embrace change and this new era in communication and collaboration should be treated no differently.