For businesses, social media is no longer a component of their overall marketing strategy – it’s the background against which all businesses compete. The fact that more than 81% businesses now have a social media presence can give us some idea of the importance of social media for most businesses.
The term business social network can mean either a company’s attempt to connect with its customers online or specialized business networks that allow companies to network with other businesses, build relationships and partnerships and learn from more experienced marketers online. There are now a number of websites that offer you the ability to connect and share with people in the same industry. These networks can help you gather valuable contacts for growing your business. They can also offer useful insight for creating and making use of important business opportunities.
Until very recently, the only places that offered networking opportunities for businesses were seminars, trade shows and other similar events. Whether a company wanted to offer a product or a service that helped other businesses perform better in the marketplace or simply wanted to connect and build relationships with other businesses, the only way for them was to attend one of these events and try to build relationships with people from other businesses. This is a far cry from an online business social network that allows them to just join a website, create a profile and then start browsing through the list of businesses they can connect with. Instead of two-day workshops, they can now stay in touch with the businesses they connect with throughout the year. Additionally, the networking opportunities are not limited to a particular geographical area – they can connect with anyone they want throughout the world.
Social networks that allow businesses to communicate directly with their customers are just as important for businesses as the business social networks that allow them to connect with other businesses. Fans and followers on social networks are extremely important not only because it allows them to stay in touch with their fan-base and communicate with them without the need to involve any other media channel or “facilitator” but also because if they’re able to raise the level of engagement of their users, they can usually enlist their help in finding new business opportunities. Additionally, these fans usually start offering support on social networking sites on their own, answering questions and helping with any issues that the new users might be facing, offering new opportunities to the companies or the brands to create value for both the customers and the company.