There are tons of articles that you can find on social networking online for your small business. Not long ago I took Google news alerts for; “online social networking for business,” and every day there were massive numbers of articles in my e-mail box. It seems there is no end to the amount of advice for people who are online to help them custom tailor their social networking blogs and websites to attract new customers to their businesses.
Interestingly enough, I have done a little bit of social networking online, as well as networking in public during my life. What I’ve found is that local networking in service clubs and chambers of commerce does more for a local business than anything online ever could. This doesn’t mean that online social networking for business is a bad idea, because it is a very good idea. It’s just that I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket or expect a high rate of return for all the hours people spend online.
If you are going to spend time online doing social networking and convince yourself it is good for business, you are probably barking up the wrong tree. Now then, if you are going to network in the real world you need to think about how to spend your time as well.
Many small businesses join service clubs, such as; the Rotary club, the Kiwanis Club, the Lions Club or the Optimist Club, and they find that they do quite well by volunteering their time and meeting others that also care very much about the community. After all, wouldn’t you rather do business with someone else that is at your level of philanthropy and caring for the local community?
Other folks like to join the Chamber of Commerce and go to all the mixers, breakfast meetings and enjoy the activities. They also believe that there is safety in numbers that will protect them from the local bureaucracies which make their business life tough. So which is better joining a service club or going to the Chamber of Commerce and getting involved there?
The reality is they are both very good, but they also take time. In any kind of real life networking, you only get out what you put in. Therefore it makes sense to do something that you like to do, and enjoy yourself while you’re doing it. My advice to you is to choose based on what you like to do most, rather than just picking one or the other. Please consider all this.