Today's global community gives us all the opportunity to stay connected with family, friends, and business associates (including our valued customers) much more easily than in the past. Rather than spending hours each month collecting interesting information and compiling it into a newsletter while spending hard-earned money on printing and direct mail, we can now simply log in and let everyone know exactly what's going on in our lives. All you have to do is start a social networking site.
Starting a social networking site is easy, but there are certain things you'll want to consider along the way. For instance, is the site for yourself, personally, or for your business? Employers often check the popular social networking sites for the dirt on prospective employees. If the site is going to be personal, it is recommended that you use a pseudonym or your set your privacy settings in such a manner that "just anyone" can't access your information. If the site is for your business, of course, you'll want to leave your settings public so that prospective and existing customers can find you and your products or services. Keeping this in mind, it is not a good idea to start a social networking site for your business and fill the photos and information with personal images or text that is not related to your offerings.
Another question you may need to answer has to do with how much time you are willing to devote to this particular form of promotion. There are many popular sites to join, such as Facebook, LinkedIn (which is more for professionals to socialize and network), and Twitter. There are applications that can help you start a social networking site and link all three of these websites together for the purposes of posting. For example, you can post an update on your Facebook Wall that will automatically send a Tweet for you. You must then remember, of course, to keep your updates to less than 140 characters, which is the limit for Twitter Tweets.
It is important, when you start a social networking site, that you invest the time needed to maintain it. An idle social networking site will drop off the radar of friends, family, colleagues and customers very quickly. However, if you maintain an active presence, you will find that your contacts look forward to messages from you and will be more than happy to interact online.