Business Networks Didn’t Start With LinkedIn

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LinkedIn is a true web success story.   I have personally received job offers on the strength of my profile and dozens of recommendations, and I’ve been able to help a number of colleagues and associates win business, employment and other business victories.

But as much as social media mavens like to talk about LinkedIn, Xing, Ning, Viadeo and even Twitter, a form of business networking has existed for years that small business owners should always use:   their local Chamber of Commerce.

Many chambers overlap each other in metro areas, and some are obviously more lead-centric than others, but all exist to facilitate business networking. Belonging to your industry’s trade groups is important.  There may also be a charity that benefits from your organization’s time or money.

But getting a decision maker involved in the local Chamber signals the rest of the business community that your company wants to be a good local corporate citizen.  You may never directly win new business this way, but you’ll broaden your personal and professional horizons, make good contacts and position your organization in a positive light.

Silver Beacon can join any number of trade groups and attend conferences every month if we wanted to do so, but we also want to show neighboring businesses that we’re in this together.  And who knows… maybe there is a legal, accounting or similar referral from someone you trust just a phone call away.   Being a community member starts in real life and then is enhanced online, not vice versa.

What Your Online Marketing Agency Should Be Telling You Today

If you use a map service online, Google Maps is still close to passing MapQuest, according to web watchers Hitwise.   There are two issues to consider:  first, Mapquest is still in the lead, and second, Google is quickly monetizing its map services with “sponsored” listings on the map.  Bad enough to see your competitor on the map.  Worse to see them with decorative fonts.

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