If you’re a business owner trying to market yourself effectively online, you probably know about the Web’s biggest social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But those aren’t the only online marketing tools that can help you drum up new business. There are dozens of business-to-business social networking sites, and many of them specialize in specific businesses and careers, from information technology to young entrepreneurs. All of these sites give users a chance to share their business with other business owners and gain awareness about their products. Here are a few of the most interesting B2B social networks and some hints on how to use them effectively.
For the best results, you should choose one or two sites to focus your attention. You can build your profile, connect with others, and learn your way around the sites. You can offer your services, interact with other professionals, and work out problems with others who offer similar services. It’s a great way to stay connected with a whole new group of potential clients, while gaining more promotion for your business. Other hints to help you along the way: Keep your profile current, highlight and add new products often, and offer input to others to get the best results from these online marketing opportunities.
Biznik is a growing network of small businesses and entrepreneurs who reach out to each other to become more successful. The site has channels for major cities across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. You’ll find every type of company, from aromatherapist to writing coach and everything in between, covered on this site. You can post special promotions here to bring in new business and connect with others, and you can post your needs, too, when you’re reaching out for input on new ideas or products.
This is a site for startup businesses to interact with each other. It allows entrepreneurs, designers, programmers, and other startup professionals to share the details and problems inherent in starting a new business. You can also put professional startup teams together here, if you need staffing. You have to register to get all the site’s benefits, but registration is free.
The E.Factor community includes a virtual marketplace to help you market your products. The site, created by and intended for entrepreneurs, also helps you connect with investors who might be interested in investing in your type of business. There are members from all over the world, and they offer networking, funding, and business specialties.
Fast Pitch is a place for professionals to connect with each other while marketing their products and services, and it includes members from all around the world. Here you can post unlimited classified ads, promote multiple businesses, and syndicate content, once you sign up for free membership.
This community focuses on IT professionals and business leaders, helping them make the best-informed business decisions. Whether you have a small business or a multinational corporation, if you’re looking for product information, reviews, and services, you can find them here.
Jobvana is a free site that offers members the opportunity to showcase their businesses online. Users can search by type of job or area to find all kinds of professional and other services. Think of this site as an online classified ad site created just for marketing businesses.
PartnerUp was created especially for small business owners to meet and exchange ideas. You can also find job opportunities with other small businesses here. The site offers motivational business articles, the chance to chat with other small business owners and ask them questions, and a search for business members in your area.
Here entrepreneurs can find financial investors, experts in their professions, and other entrepreneurs to support growth and development. If you’re looking for small business training, you can find it here, along with advice and support.
This is a site where members band together by their interests, their locations, and even current or past employers. After you register you can join networks with other members with the same interests or professions. More a tool for networking rather than online sales, Ryze offers a job-search feature, too.
This is a place for startup businesses and aspiring startups to trade ideas and information. The site offers networking, articles, expert bloggers, and groups by location. It’s a good spot to learn more about starting a business before you actually make the leap.
This site offers forums for young, passionate entrepreneurs who are promoting or starting up new businesses. This is mostly a site for networking and getting answers to questions, but there are articles and business information, too, along with real estate and startup opportunities.
Post your company’s profile, network with other professionals, and exchange messages, both public and private. You can chat with people in your profile who are online, either one-on-one or in groups. Partnerships with vendors such as Starbucks and Amazon let you send gifts to colleagues easily and track flight availability via Expedia.