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8/28/07

Online Business Networking: Does it Work?

I have advocating using the Internet for a wide variety of things. Now the question arises; does online business networking work? You tell me. Thousand of new websites are being created on the Internet each and every day. It seems that every major company has at least one blog. Bloggers are making money hand over fist and are not even selling a product!

Is online business networking the most effective way to market a business? This question depends on many factors. First, like with most things, the amount of money you are willing to spend, will determine, among other things, the amount and quality of exposure you, your product, and/or your website or blog are going to get. However, the great thing about the Internet is that you are going to get “more bang for your buck.” Think about it like this; if you spent $100 to go to a networking event, you might meet a couple hundred people, of which only about twenty or thirty will actually produce any business for you (in exchange for you producing business for them). On the other hand, if you go on a social networking website (the larger free sites include MySpace and FaceBook, while there are paid sites that charge a small monthly fee but produce contacts specific to your business) you will be in contact with literally millions of people! So, common sense would tell you that free contact with millions is better than paid contact with hundreds.

However, something is to be said with face-to-face networking. It is a very valuable tool. People cannot really grasp your personality strengths in an e-mail. This is the disadvantage to online networking. However, if you are not the best schmoozer, online networking will probably be your best bet.

Take advantage of the free networking, but do not disregard the in-person networking. Remember, you get more bang for your buck with online networking, put you lose the advantage of presenting your personality strengths. Weigh the pros and the cons against your situation and use the two systems accordingly to help maximize your business networking opportunities.


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