Every small business owner understands that networking is very important, often critical to survival. I can speak from personal experience; the off-line networking that I have done and continue to do, has produced a lot of new business, connections, and new friends.

Today I wanted to write about on-line networking.  A while back, a friend asked me about the subject, thus this post.  On-line network is just as important as off-line.  Again I can say from experience, the on-line networking I have done has been very productive and very well worth the time.

Where can you network on-line?

There are many business and professional networking sites. Most will allow you to set up a profile of who you are and what you do. A few of these are:

I use LinkedIn and really like it. It is not hard to setup a profile and the program is well established. I have found that many of the top marketers use it and LinkedIn has helped me to connect with them.

Via Linkedin, I met Jim Browning of (www.NetworkingGA.com) He is a professional networker and offers LinkedIn Webinar Training. Jim also directed me to a couple of good articles on how to use LinkedIn to build your business and network:

10 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Build your Business

Smart Ways to Use LinkedIn

Top Reasons to Use LinkedIn

Why Should I network on-line?

Growing Your Network Online

Networking on the Internet

So far the focus has been on meeting people and making connections, but there are numerous other reasons why you should network on-line.

  • Link Building
    When setting up your profile, make sure to put links to your website, blogs etc. This is an easy way to get more links to your website. Google and the other search engines can and will index your profile page
  • Resume
    This is an easy way to let folks know about your background and training.  A standard resume does not always “fit” into your website but with these networking sites, it is SOP
  • Reviews/Recommendations
    This is an excellent place for past and current clients or customers to leave feedback about your business.  An easy way to “plug yourself” without looking arrogant.

Conclusion: I do not think you need to go overboard and use every method of networking listed in these articles or sign up for every networking site. You DO need to do something and no better time than right now (if you haven’t already).  Happy networking!