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Business-to-business social networking is a newer form of business communication brought about by changes in technology. Social media websites allow businesses to create web pages where consumers can follow the company and receive brief messages sent out by the organization. Companies can use these websites to network with other organizations in the business environment. Individuals working for companies can also set up individual social media pages (or accounts) that allow them to connect with other professionals in business industries.
Using business-to-business social networking is often used to market a company and present a digital representation of the company. While many companies will capitalize in traditional forms of marketing or advertising, such as billboards, newsprint or magazines, the Internet offers a wide variety of other marketing and networking solutions. Through the social media networks, businesses can send updates to individual smart phones or personal digital devices. Companies can promote their services to other professionals and also follow up on current services and receive feedback through this business-to-business social networking medium.
Networking allows companies to get their foot in the door with potential clients. For example, some social network websites geared for business allows an individual to view the contacts of other people using the website. This allows an owner or president to connect with people that he would not have currently met by not using social media websites. Companies can also require their upper managers or executives to create individual profiles in order to expand the business-to-business social networking opportunities.
Another benefit with business-to-business social networking is that sites catering to businesses and business professionals will tend to market or advertise in these areas. This allows the company to set up an account on a business networking site (free of charge in many cases) and allow the website company to place advertisements to reach new users. In many cases, random Internet searches will return web pages or advertisements from the social media websites, which result in a business receiving more exposure. Additionally, Internet searches for an executive or other worker in the company can result in exposure to the business services offered by the organization.
Social media websites are not without their drawbacks. Some websites allow random users to post comments or complaints on the website, resulting in negative exposure for the company. Additionally, workers and employees who indicate they work for an organization can release information on the company’s products or operations that should not be public. Attempting to police these problems can be difficult if a wide variety of social media websites are in use; additionally, the company must expend time trying to find and correct these issues.