|Real-world benefits to social networking|
Are there any?
I have to admit I don't understand all the hoopla about social networking. FaceBook, MySpace, etc., seem like they could be fun if you're into that kind of thing, but the rather grandiose claims about real-world business-related benefits to social networking tend to be very vague and general. I have yet to hear a single story that gives specifics of it actually being useful.
So how about it - does anyone have a story of some tangible, real-world benefit to social networking?
I don't have any stories because I don't use it. I suspect it's got to do with your target audience. If you're pushing ringtones and video games, social networking may be a good avenue to explore. If you're targeting knit pullovers and motor homes, maybe it's not the right venue.
Well, supposedly Dell has sold a million bucks worth of refurb or overstock PCs using Twitter. Plenty of social media consultants derive a lot of their business from (you guessed it) social media.
I also see real estate agents, success coaches, and other personal service providers all over Twitter. I don't know how many are really successful in that venue, but they are certainly working it.
The original business social network, LinkedIn, seems to be best for job seekers and recruiters. You don't hear a lot about deals originating there. I did almost hire an investment banker that came to me via LinkedIn, though. They were definitely in the running, and lost to another firm for reasons unrelated to the mode of introduction.
There is definately a new wave of social networks or really content driven social networks some companies are really tackling alot of these uselessness issues.
[edited by: rogerd at 10:07 pm (utc) on Mar. 22, 2009]
[edit reason] no URLs or specifics, please, per TOS [/edit]
Welcome to WebmasterWorld, bkind.
I'd add that there are many people who would say that social networks are their primary means of promoting their, or their company's, services.
Last Thursday a colleague was laid off and she mentioned it on Facebook. Within four hours she was offered her old job back at two previous employers in two countries. Here you can see employers being able to find good workers through SN.
My son promotes a local nightclub through a contact list he has built in MySpace and Facebook. It gives him enough income to suit his student lifestyle. Here you can see specific niches being able to find customers from the SN-using demographic.