Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock you are hearing all the buzz around social networking and social media marketing. A growing number of entrepreneurs are part of social media network in one form or another, but may not understand fully the powerful role social media can play in building their businesses. There is a clear trend that is taking place in the business world today and it is centered on social media marketing. What is social media marketing? What are the trends in social media? What is the Value in Social Networking? What role will it play in your business building efforts?

What Is Social Networking?

“A social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or 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 email and instant messaging services. Social networking has encouraged new ways to communicate and share information. Social networking websites are being used regularly by millions of people.” ~ Wikipedia ~

A couple of the most popular social networking services are Facebook and Myspace. Facebook connects people with friends, former classmates and family members. There are social networking services that are more geared towards connecting entrepreneurs and professionals such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn has over 40 million members and is in over 200 countries. Another social networking service that is growing fast is Twitter.

What Are The Trends In Social Media? smm panel

• The purchase of YouTube by Google for $1.65 Billion
• Networking site like MySpace attracting a record number of people (MySpace surpassed 50 Million U.S Visitors in May of 2006)
• The number of people using social media services in North America alone is 40 Million People monthly and growing.
• “Revenues generated by online social networking services surpassed all other paid content categories.” ~ 2003, ComScore ~

What Is The Value In Social Networking?

As the stats above indicate there is an increasing trend of social networking services. This trend is clearly popular and will continue to grow. What is the relevance of this trend in social networking to your business? How can you harness this powerful trend as an entrepreneur?

“There is a growing evidence to support claims that some social networking services can be a powerful professional ally to businesses – in particular independent entrepreneurs and smaller companies, for whom each new personal connection is a significant business building block. Social networks are like grease – in some cases, gasoline – for our personal business networking machines. If you aren’t plugged in, you will be outdone by better connected, hyper-networked colleagues and competitors.” ~ MSNBC ~

The value of networking is in the connections you make with individuals. The value is in the relationships. This is not just about business it is also personal. You have to care about people and what is important to them and treat them with respect. Ultimately social networking is a trust based relationship like any other personal or business relationship. Taking a genuine interest in others and providing value is what will attract friends, followers, customers, and raving fans.