Internet Marketing 101 – Part 6 Social Networks

What is social networking?

Wikipedia defines it as:

A social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.

Social networking has revolutionized the way we communicate and share information with one another in today’s society. Various social networking websites are being used by millions of people everyday on a regular basis and it now seems that social networking is a part of everyday life. The main types of social networking services are those which contain directories of some categories (such as former classmates), means to connect with friends (usually with self-description pages), and recommender systems linked to trust. Popular methods now combine many of these, with MySpace and Facebook being the most widely used in North America; Bebo, MySpace, Skyrock Blog, Facebook and Hi5 in parts of Europe; Orkut and Hi5 in South America and Central America;and Friendster and Orkut in Asia and the Pacific Islands. CouchSurfing is a new type of social network called hospitality exchange networks.

Some of the major social networking sites on the web include (but are not limited too): facebook, twitter, myspace, squidoo, youtube, LinkedIn etc. The basic principle lies in you link to people that have something similar to you. For example if you are reading this go ahead and follow me on twitter, 99% of the time I generally find it useful to return the follow since we probably have something similar in common, we want to make some money online.

How do you take advantage of these social networks? How much time does it take? While I do not use social networks to their fullest, it can take a significant amount of time for someone to go around and make multiple updates a day. I like twitter since you cannot do lengthy updates! (I’m lazy), you can make a blog post and point people to it. For sites like myspace you need to be more diligent on making friends and growing your network, just like on twitter.

Your best bet is to find one site you want to focus on and jump in and start to build your network there. Once you feel comfortable with it go to the next. It is important that you don’t simply sell your wares, or you’ll be slapped down. It is important to become part of the community and not a thorn in it’s side. Another great place to get known is on forums that focus on your interest, so if it’s gaming find a forum that works for you. Become a contributor and then you can put your site in your signature to grow awareness. If you contribute, people will click on your link to see what else you have to say.

Again social networking is not rocket science it is simply finding people that have a common interest and sharing your ideas with them in a constructive meaningful fashion.

I’m learning more about this daily so I’m sure I’ll have more to say on it soon.

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