Social Networking for the Business Owner

According to Digizen, Social Networking can be broadly defined as Internet- or mobile-device-based social spaces designed to facilitate communication, collaboration and content sharing across networks of contacts. Digizen goes on to say that social networking services are changing the ways in which people use and engage with the Internet and with each other. But are they really?

The other day, my friend Lauren and I caught up with each other on news and gossip. We chatted about mutual friends we hadn’t seen in a while, and I put her back in touch with an old friend of ours so that they could catch up again. She showed me photos of her nephew, I showed her photos of my horses. We chatted about her brother’s business and she asked if I could quote him on a website for it. We compared notes on movies we’d seen recently and books we were currently reading.

This is a description of a fairly typical “long time no see” coffee date between friends, right? Right.

Except that Lauren and I are miles apart (She’s in the UK) and the entire conversation took place over 4 days – on the social networking site, Facebook. So Facebook becomes just another tool, like the telephone, to keep in touch. Nothing scary, nothing unknown there.
“That’s all good and well,” I hear you say, “but how does it help my business?”

My client, Isobel, phones me in a panic: she’s going to be late for our meeting: her car’s broken down and she doesn’t know what to do. I suggest she calls Robin, who’s my best friend and owns a mechanical workshop… or that she calls the AA and asks them to recommend a mechanic. Isobel calls Robin, Robin comes and sorts out her car. Isobel gets to my meeting on time, Robin gets a new client. Why didn’t Isobel call the AA instead?

For Isobel, the AA is a faceless entity where there is nothing familiar to provide comfort and trust on a personal level. Personal recommendations carry more weight. Isobel trusts me, I trust Robin … so Isobel trusts Robin.


Social networking sites are all about trusted relationships. On Facebook, I can add you as a friend, and introduce you to my other friends. (Facebook uses the word “friend”, but it could as easily use the word “contact” or “client” or “supplier”). In this way, Facebook is an INCREDIBLY powerful (and free) marketing tool. The more people who know about what you do for a living, the more people are going to be out there mentioning what you do to their contacts.

If you and your business – and you ARE your business – are not on Facebook, I won’t be telling my few hundred Facebook friends about you. Neither will anyone else on Facebook.

Think of it like this: the only way to guarantee anything in a lottery is to NOT buy a lotto ticket. That way you’re guaranteed to NOT win.

If you don’t make time to listen to and pay attention to your clients on Facebook, someone else will.

As you negotiate the pitfalls and pleasures of Facebook, you will no doubt want to develop a Facebook group or page (more about those in an upcoming article) for your business – and if you need a guide through the Facebook maze, pixelmagic is happy to help!

Did you find this article valuable/helpful? Please elaborate!