Social Networking, and the social media platforms (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, blogs, etc) which support it, has fundamentally changed the way in which we communicate. As a result, it is essential that businesses implement an effective social networking strategy. Here are a few key points to keep in mind in your social networking interactions:
1. Set social networking goals.
2. Social networks enhance NOT replace face to face networking.
3. Listen before you leap! Find out what is being said about your topic before you launch into social networking. Check out Google Alerts.
4. Social networks are best used to create visibility and credibility, NOT just to advertise or sell. Let others do the selling for you.
5. Social Networking is a learned skill. It requires ongoing attention and improvement.
6. Speak in your voice about what you know. Be compelling, proactive and consistent.
7. Integrate your social networking presence with your website, email & other marketing tools.
8. Be transparent, but be careful. Pay particular attention to social media privacy settings.

Finally, it is important to understand that participation in social networking is like getting a dog at the pound. It’s free until you get the dog home! Similarly there is no entry fee for most social media platforms, but be prepared to commit time, energy and thought to your involvement. All of which equal or cost money!