I was browing the various Facebook groups the other day, as you do, and it was great to see that there are many enterprising young people who are using it as a vehicle for promotion of their ventures. Far from just using social networking to chat to their friends, entrepreneurial twenty- and thirty- somethings (ok, there are some older ones too) are going further and actively pushing their business causes, concerns and ventures to their peer groups.
I know there are various companies, and probably even PhD students, doing research into the effects of such social networking sites on today’s society and it will be very interesting to see in 5 or 10 years what the impact of such sites has been. I think we’ll find that they have had quite a major impact on how people talk to each other and keep in touch. I wonder what their effect will be, if any, upon how people conduct, or even develop, business?
One great thing about social networking sites, in my view, is that they have given enterprising people yet another marketing channel and an easier way to interact with potential consumers, or colleagues. With Facebook for example, all you need to do is post or make a group and then keep adding content – Facebook will inform your friends or associates of your actions. That feed creates a stickiness which is one of the key aspects of Facebook that, in my opinion, makes it superior to MySpace. As we all know, with a website it’s up to you to keep people coming back.
But is it enough to market just to your peer group? From a business point of view can your online peer group (usually made up of people that you know in Facebook’s case) be turned into consumers – and ones that keep coming back for more?
What might be an interesting venture (if it doesn’t already exist and I’m sure it does in some form) is a business networking site which matches people or recommends friends/associates to you based upon your interests, preferences, and/or your particular business type. Say you were a business angel, looking for businesses to invest in, the site could provide you with a feed every day of which companies are looking for investment and encourage you to add them as a ‘friend’ and get in contact with them. Just an idea.
Who else out there is using social networking for business? What have your experiences been? Do let me know!!