Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Social Networking and Business Partnerships

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This last week I received an e-mail from a lady who wanted advice about her social networking efforts. She had set up a Twitter account, and she wanted to take her two business international. For the past several years she has run a manufacturing company, and this year she started a counseling service.

On the site for her counseling business she advertised her services as a place where people who had no one else to talk to could come and talk to her privately. I found this kind of odd and responded that she advertised her counseling as a place where people could come and talk to her privately, as all counseling should be. Twitter was counter productive to her goal to remain private, because Twitter is a platform in which people follow other people publicly.

She did not have a site for her manufacturing business that I could find (she wrote to me on a business networking site); though, a site would give me no more information than I needed. She had said in her profile that she was seeking partners to take her business international.

Again, Twitter is not the platform for that. Twitter is a great way to connect with people; though, it is what it is—a virtual water cooler. If you run a blog, e-zine, or some other sort of news service that does not require people to go to a physical location, Twitter is great. If you own a restaurant, grocery store, or some other similar place of business, and you want to get word out about a sale or a coupon code, Twitter will help you do that. If you want to connect with people, you want to earn their trust, and Twitter is not good for that.

So, now the question is what is good for connecting with potential business partners? Good old fashion shaking people’s hands is the best way to look for business partners. Of course, that can start with social networking; though, as I said last week, the best social networking is followed up by actual smiles and hand shakes.

Start a conversation with people you befriend on Facebook, get to know them; if you’re in the same area or will be at some time, take that person out to lunch; get to know that person some more, develop a relationship with that person, and then go from there.

Neither Twitter, nor Facebook, nor any other social networking site can or should supplement a friendly smile or firm handshake. Of course, anything can happen, and anyone can connect in anyway; but when you set out to connect with people, think about how you would want them to connect with you.

If you want to start connecting with people today, take a look at my Website. I can help you with your social networking efforts. And come start a conversation with me on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog about the best of the Internet's Open Source sites.


Keep connecting,



Erick

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