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Why are Social Networking Sites important to Online Businesses? Why this is important to online marketers is because they are a great way of finding people who are looking for what you are offering - say you were marketing a football newsletter, you could quickly find people interested in football via the Social Networking sites and communicate with them. By keeping your page up to date, contributing to forums and blogs, and messaging your new friends you can start to build up a relationship with other members, thus increasing the reach of your promotional messages. If you can become seen as an expert in your field on a Social Networking Site, you will soon find potential customers come to you rather than you having to find them. One thing you need to avoid on Social Networking Sites is blatant advertising, or use of mass friend-adders or mass messaging - you'll soon find yourself deleted - as I discovered after adding some 700 people to my profile in a week, and sending them a copy/paste message. Many offer paid methods of contacting specific parts of their member base, but don't like you doing it yourself for free! So learn from my mistake and do what I do now, use them to send targeted messages to specific individuals, and when you need to communicate with large numbers at once, do it via the forums as you're intended to! There are now many different types of Social Networking sites - the general, like MySpace, Bebo and FaceBook, and the more targeted for specific pursuits or groups. So go out and join at least 3 - and start to find people who are interested in the same things as you, and the things that you are offering. Make friends, find allies, reach out to a whole new segment of your market. Social Networking Sites are an important tool to have in your arsenal today. Use them wisely.

Rob Bell is a successful Chartered Marketer with 15 years experience creating and developing varied markets, primarily Technology. He first started using the Internet as a Business & Marketing student in 1991, and considers himself a bit of a computer addict. He runs several websites including Rob-Bell.com, and devotes most of his work time when not with clients to those.

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