As I've built my social presence across the internet over the last several year, there are five applications that I use with great frequency–some every day, others weekly and none no less than once a month. They are the foundational super heroes of my internet empire and the basis for the ubiquitous Iceman Baldy brand. If you're really serious about making the most of the internet and connecting with like-minded individuals in a meaningful way, you'll make room for each of these hero applications in your social networking toolbox.
Twitter is my top choice for ease of use and customer relationship management. I use if for both my Iceman Baldy brand and with my BlackWebpreneur social network. Using text message based posts to your account from your computer, a mobile phone or any device that allows you to connect to the internet, you can update friends and followers about your business, relevant news, or any social commentary that you care to make about what's happening with you or the world at large. Your twitter profile page becomes an extremely useful tool to promote your expertise and other interests and it's easy to amass to sizeable number of connections in very little time. The hardest part is keeping track of all the people who you're connected with and expert twitter users know how to use twitter to search on information that helps them to grow their businesses in new and innovative ways. For more information on using Twitter for strategic marketing, check out my Squidoo page called Strategic Internet Marketing with Twitter.
Speaking of Squidoo, there's no faster way to become an expert on any topic of your choosing while also making a little money that this wonder of a social networking site. Using Squidoo's easy to manage interface and wonderfully simple modules, you build a page (a lens in Squidoo terminology) that you're free to customize with text, media, links, and tons of other interactive content focused on whatever topic you like. I've created several lenses that cover internet marketing topics like product promotion and list building in addition to other lenses related to personal interests like the Chevy SSR and Black fraternities and sororities–focus on a popular topic where you have some knowledge worth sharing and let your creativity run free in using Squidoo modules to interactively express your expertise. I've made money on my Squidoo lenses over the last year with very little effort by updating my lenses every so often. I need to create a few more great lenses and increase my monthly revenues even more!
Facebook is a social networking opportunity that most online entrepreneurs don't take full advantage of even if they have an active personal profile. It's a best kept secret for savvy marketers who understand the power it holds for passive promotion. I use my Iceman Baldy Facebook profile to connect with over 200 people who are interested in my expertise and services in addition to keeping in touch with friends and family members. My blogs and Twitter posts are integrated within my Facebook profile updates so that those who only follow me on Facebook get exposed to my other activities and useful content. In this way, Facebook becomes a gateway to the rest of my internet presence. Here's a special tip: Create a page for your products, services or website and use this unique space within the Facebook community to attract fans and promote your presence efficiently and effectively from within the social network. The Black Internet Marketing Forum Facebook page is a good example.
Ning is a social networking platform that allow you to create your own social network. You're probably using Ning and aren't even aware of it as some pretty popular social groups are flourishing on the platform and have been for a few year. BlackWebpreneur is a network that I started some time ago that is growing steadily as I promote it as a place for collaboration and cooperative economics between African American online entrepreneurs. Ning gives you the power to become a relationship broker while providing valuable content to your members and benefiting from the content that they provide to the rest of your network. Ning is easy to use and offers each individual member all the tools that they could want to customize their page to their hearts content.
Of the five super-social sites I cover in this post, currently LinkedIn is the one that I use the least in marketing my business and promoting my services but ironically the one that I use the most for professional networking in my day job. LinkedIn has grown from a place to maintain your online resume and keep in contact with colleagues to a place for providing referalls and making recommendations while also becoming active in a variety of professional groups and forums that lead to employment and business opportunities. You can also include automatic updates from your weblog so it offers great promotional potential. I've networked with many people in my field through contact via LinkedIn and you can make your network as open or as closed as you feel comfortable. I've decided to use LinkedIn as much for my marketing business endeavors as I do for my personal professional pursuits and I'm looking forward to seeing it pay off in a similar fashion.
These are my five phenomenal favorites. Use them well and your social networking will rise to new and heroic heights.