If you’re an entrepreneur who has been seduced by social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, you may realize the benefits of using these basic tools to finding and staying in touch with business partners, employers and customers, along with learning new information.
If you’re late to the party, though, we’ve listed a variety of basic social media tools for networking – as well as a number of social media sites designed just for entrepreneurs. Some may be familiar, but some could be new finds. Through these sites, you can network, build a Web presence, place ads, find funding and more.
The Basic Social Networking Tools
- Digg: Create a news niche by uploading information that’s useful to you and to others who want your information. This is a great place to find like-minded individuals who are interested in your information.
- Facebook: Not just for kids, this tool can help you create ‘Pages’ that relate to your business where you gather ‘fans’ like ‘followers’ on Twitter.
- Flickr: Share photos of your products or services, staff, convention photos and get-togethers to show that you’re a pro and that you like to have fun as well.
- Friendfeed: Create a private group for your company or colleagues to collaborate on a research paper, coordinate an upcoming event, or give status updates on the TPS reports. Or, use Friendfeed as an aggregate to feed from your other social networking tools.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the business social networking leader of the pack. While you may be tempted to use your business as the ‘name’ for your LinkedIn account, you might think about a down-the-road situation where you sell that entrepreneurial business. Be yourself at LinkedIn, state what you do, and put enough information in your profile to show that you own a business and that you’re a human being, too.
- Twitter: Use Twitter to show that a real human lies behind your brand. Some social media pros suggest you use a photo rather than your logo for an avatar, but use what feels ‘right’ to you.
- YouTube: This tool is a no-brainer for film companies, entertainers and politicians. But, you can use videos as how-to guides, information hubs and more to promote your business.
Enterpreneur-Specific Social Platforms
- BizFriendz: Increase your online presence and your sales as well as develop new business contacts and partnerships through this social media platform. Earn money while you build your network through ticket sales for events you create and through first- and second-tier referral fees from others who join your network and use BizFriendz’ enhanced site features.
- Biznik: If you hate isolation, need more clients and customers, want to raise your visibility and need help with certain parts of your business, then Biznik might be right for you. While LinkedIn provides a great venue to seek new work, Biznik is for sharing ideas online and face-to-face.
- Cofoundr: This community for entrepreneurs offers a global environment for entrepreneurs to find co-founders, to build teams and to get advice. This is a public beta offering, so getting in on the ground floor might appeal to your entrepreneurial spirit.
- DreamStake: This is a collaborative platform for “creative entrepreneurs” who want to meet up with other talented individuals with experience across a wide range of disciplines. Find funding, legal and marketing expertise and software and design development skills at this site.
- Ecademy: Create new contacts and friends, market your business for Google visibility, share your knowledge for opportunities to meet others and build your business with unlimited advertisements in the Marketplace.
- Entrepreneur Connect: Create a profile, share ideas and make connections without feeling pressured to self-promote (which is discouraged at any rate). You also can create or join groups to network, create dynamic business-to-business relationships and get your creative juices flowing.
- Fast Pitch: Fast Pitch provides a “one-stop shop” for networking and marketing. Increase your online presence with a 60+ page manual that shows you how to use Fast Pitch to its fullest potential.
- Go BIG Network: Billed as the “Biggest Community of Startup Companies,” this social networking site offers ways to build a business plan, find funding, services and mentors. Think of this site as a Grand Central Station for entrepreneurs.
- PartnerUp: This is another networking site for small business owners that offers material on how to build your business, learn more about being in business and opportunities to find a new business and even properties for sale or lease.
- Perfect Business: Get the education and resources you need to succeed in business along with a venue that promotes meeting thousands of entrepreneurs, both novice and expert. Use this site to find potential business partners, clients and mentors.
- Ryze: This social media platform provides a free networking-oriented homepage for you to use to make quality business contacts, deals and connections with clients, peers and friends.
- StartupNation: This is an entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur site that helps self-starters get off the ground, market and build a business. This site also welcomes franchise owners.
- StartupSpace: Develop a profile page for your business and invite friends to network. You can develop a blog, a group and/or a discussion and upload and share videos about your business and interests at this social network platform.
- The Funded: This is an online community filled with entrepreneurs who research, rate and review worldwide funding sources. Share terms of service sheets, assist others with finding start-up funds and ask for help for your venture.
- Upspring: Use this social media platform to promote your company and to increase offline sales, to develop new B2B contacts and to profile your business for online visibility.
- Vator.tv: If you want to expand your video exposure beyond YouTube, try this social platform on for size. This is a place for emerging companies to showcase and market their goods and/or services. Get feedback; join the community and share news while meeting new entrepreneurs and customers.
- Young Entrepreneur: If you’re a young entrepreneur, join over 50,000 other members to discuss start-up issues and more in forums, through blogs and by private messages.
- Xing: Manage your business contacts along with seven million other members to this site. You receive a profile, a personal home page and messages as well as special limited offers on travel, electronics and more.
Editor’s note: This story initially appears on The Biz-learner blog. See others like it at http://onlineaccountingcolleges.com/blog/
Come see the most promising new technologies unveiled for the first very time at DEMOfall 09 this September 21-23 in San Diego. VentureBeat readers may register to attend the conference at a special 20% discount off our regular rate. Register now at: http://www.demo.com/f9vb2
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.