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The Internet provides powerful networking opportunities that allow users to effectively target their audience by logging on to social sites like LinkedIn, Digg and more. Take advantage of these tools by asserting your company’s presence online and reaching more potential customers, business partners and employees.

Social-Media/Social-Bookmarking Sites

Share your favorite sites on the Web with potential clients and business partners by commenting on, uploading and ranking different newsworthy articles. You can also create a member profile that directs traffic back to your company’s Web site.

  1. Reddit: Upload stories and articles on reddit to drive traffic to your site or blog. Submit items often so that you’ll gain a more loyal following and increase your presence on the site.
  2. Digg: Digg has a huge following online because of its optimum usability. Visitors can submit and browse articles in categories like technology, business, entertainment, sports and more.
  3. Del.icio.us: Social bookmark your way to better business with sites like del.icio.us, which invite users to organize and publicize interesting items through tagging and networking.
  4. StumbleUpon: You’ll open your online presence up to a whole new audience just by adding the StumbleUpon toolbar to your browser and “channel surf[ing] the Web. You’ll “connect with friends and share your discoveries,” as well as “meet people that have similar interests.”
  5. Technorati: If you want to increase your blog’s readership, consider registering it with Technorati, a network of blogs and writers that lists top stories in categories like Business, Entertainment and Technology.
  6. Ning: After hanging around the same social networks for a while, you may feel inspired to create your own, where you can bring together clients, vendors, customers and co-workers in a confidential, secure corner of the Web. Ning lets users design free social networks that they can share with anyone.
  7. Squidoo: According to Squidoo, “everyone’s an expert on something. Share your knowledge!” Share your industry’s secrets by answering questions and designing a profile page to help other members.
  8. Furl: Make Furl “your personal Web file” by bookmarking great sites and sharing them with other users by recommending links, commenting on articles and utilizing other fantastic features.
  9. Tubearoo: This video network works like other social-bookmarking sites, except that it focuses on uploaded videos. Businesses can create and upload tutorials, commentaries and interviews with industry insiders to promote their own services.
  10. WikiHow: Create a how-to guide or tutorial on wikiHow to share your company’s services with the public for free.
  11. YouTube: From the fashion industry to Capitol Hill, everyone has a video floating around on YouTube. Shoot a behind-the-scenes video from your company’s latest commercial or event to give customers and clients an idea of what you do each day.
  12. Ma.gnolia: Share your favorite sites with friends, colleagues and clients by organizing your bookmarks with Ma.gnolia. Clients will appreciate both your Internet-savviness and your ability to stay current and organized.

Professional-Networking Sites

Sign up with these online networking communities as a company or as an individual to take advantage of recruiting opportunities, cross-promotional events and more.

  1. LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a popular networking site where alumni, business associates, recent graduates and other professionals connect online.
  2. Ecademy: Ecademy prides itself on “connecting business people” through its online network, blog and message-board chats, as well as its premier BlackStar membership program, which awards exclusive benefits.
  3. Focus: Focus is a business destination where business professionals can help each other with their purchase and other business decisions by accessing research and peer expertise. Most importantly, Focus provides open, quality information for all businesses that is freely available, easily accessible, and community powered.
  4. YorZ: This networking site doubles as a job site. Members can post openings for free to attract quality candidates.
  5. Xing: An account with networking site Xing can “open doors to thousands of companies.” Use the professional contact manager to organize your new friends and colleagues, and take advantage of the Business Accelerator application to “find experts at the click of a button, market yourself in a professional context [and] open up new sales channels.”
  6. Facebook: Facebook is no longer just for college kids who want to post their party pics. Businesses vie for advertising opportunities, event promotion and more on this social-networking site.
  7. Care2: Care2 isn’t just a networking community for professionals: It’s touted as “the global network for organizations and people who Care2 make a difference.” If your business is making efforts to go green, let others know by becoming a presence on this site.
  8. Gather: This networking community is made up of members who think. Browse categories concerning books, health, money, news and more to ignite discussions on politics, business and entertainment. This will help your company tap into its target audience and find out what they want.
  9. MEETin.org: Once you’ve acquired a group of contacts in your city by networking on MEETin.org, organize an event so that you can meet face-to-face.
  10. Tribe: Cities like Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, New York and Chicago have unique online communities on tribe. Users can search for favorite restaurants, events, clubs and more.
  11. Ziggs: Ziggs is “organizing and connecting people in a professional way.” Join groups and make contacts through your Ziggs account to increase your company’s presence online and further your own personal career.
  12. Plaxo: Join Plaxo to organize your contacts and stay updated with feeds from Digg, Amazon.com, del.icio.us and more.
  13. NetParty: If you want to attract young professionals in cities like Boston, Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Orlando Fla., create an account with the networking site NetParty. You’ll be able to connect with qualified, up-and-coming professionals online, then meet them at a real-life happy-hour event where you can pass out business cards, pitch new job openings and more.
  14. Networking For Professionals: Networking For Professionals is another online community that combines the Internet with special events in the real world. Post photos, videos, résumés and clips on your online profile while you meet new business contacts.

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