Social media sites across the Web don’t seem to be scarce, in fact they continue to evolve and increase in number and functionality. The real question is however “What’s their use?” Many have answered the question, “It depends who you are and what you want”. So in this age of time scarcity how can an Startup Entrepreneur best use his/her time to take advantage of social networking for business and promotion? For entrepreneurs who are on-the-fly, I can recommend four “must join” social networking sites/resources:
This is definitely one of the most valuable professional networking sites around. Their current slogan is “relationship matters”, and this site certainly has what it takes to really last, being one of the original social media enterprises. Whether you’re searching for a new job, trying to stay connected with peers or making an effort to establish your company, there is an array of resources which are readily available. If you’ve got the time, it’s certainly best to interact on a daily basis, and to check out the group feature of LinkedIn as well. You must list your keywords accurately and clearly establish your brand so that you’re exposed to – and aware of, the best match of potential partners, business opportunities and service providers.
If you can invest the time, and you’re able to really interact, you’ll be able to establish yourself as an expert in your field by leveraging the power of LinkedIn Answers. The more you interact with others, the more your marketing message may be perceived as desirable and trusted, in qualitative terms. The controls in place ensure that experts are just that and that show pony’s get thrown out of discussion quick smart.
Some entrepreneurs believe that a network that charges for membership will usually be made up of individuals who are quite a bit more serious, and much more likely to be active members too. Biznik is surprisingly serious about its position, and it has gone so far as to brand itself as the network that “actually cares about the entrepreneur.”
There are three levels of membership available here; two of which are paid, up to $24 a month for the “pro” level. Their approach is – go it alone, but as a part of their team, and their rules are that you have to use real data in a system which uses a human review system to continually make sure that everybody is keeping it real. This site can be a shoulder to cry on, or a source of inspiration, but once again its benefits will come from an active involvement on your part.
This option is rather different. It is a site created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, but it is chock full of content and advice. Apart from a great podcast, you’ll find innumerable articles on almost every business idea that you could envisage as well as active forums. In some respects it is also like a giant “super blog” where you can pick up so much information in one place without the feeling that you are being drawn to so many different sites during your research. The instigators of the site, Rich and Jeff Sloan, are nationally acclaimed entrepreneurs, publishers, celebrities and award winners, and the composition of this site reflects this in its details.
4. TWiST – This Week in Startups
Run by Jason Calacanis, this weekly Podcast is full of great tips, reviews, insight and humor. Jason does a great job oh hosting the podcasts and interviewing the entrepreneurs. His following online via the #TWiST tag has grown in popularity and they do a great job of keeping the sessions interactive by fielding questions from Twitter followers and seeking reviews on the show in real time. I love listening to TWiST during a long drive or flight, Jason never ceases to crack me up with his sometimes brutal candor.
So there, any time poor person can reap best value out of intelligent and targeted use of time while embarking on a social networking campaign to build business relationships, brand awareness and credibility in your field. The alternative route for achieving the same result would cost much more time and money, long live social networking for business.