Social networking is the biggest thing online today. You’ve no doubt heard of Facebook and StumbleUpon. Well, did you know that you can turn you local business website into a community social network using one of two tools that will allow you to do that easily?
Facebook is in the process of rolling out a new application, Facebook Connect, that will allow you to add social networking features to your local website and let your users network with their Facebook friends more easily. Why would you want to do that?
Well, for starters, people will stay on your website longer. And because they stay on your website longer, you’ll be able to charge more advertising on your local website – if you offer advertising. If you are a service site then keeping people on your website longer could benefit you by branding you in their minds. That’s a powerful benefit.
Plus, since Facebook has local networks that make it easier for people in the same community to network and build relationships, this is one cool feature for a local website and it allows you to build community without spending thousands of dollars. It’s free!
The other tool that will allow you to build community into your local website is Google FriendConnect. Google FriendConnect is a bit more flexible than Facebook Connect because you can build interactive features into your website from several social networking communities, not just one. The drawback is that Facebook has better privacy features. But if you want your users to be able to connect through Facebook, Plaxo, hi5, Orkut, or other social networking communities then Google FriendConnect could be the way to go.
Whether you decide to use Google FriendConnect or Facebook Connect, turning your local business website into an online community makes a lot of sense.