Networking, online and off line, is a time-honored business practice. Business owners have been engaging others through social networking ever since they’ve been doing business. The only difference has been the strategies employed.
Online, social networking has come to a different age. It’s as much a necessity of doing business as SEO and paid search. But how much time should you spend networking online and where should you go to do it?
Those are perhaps the two most important questions to ask yourself when you embark upon a new strategy for your business. How much time is enough time to network, and where? On the time question, I would say you want to spend a good amount of time networking, but don’t overdo it. Of the time that you spend marketing your business, maybe 30% of that time should be spent networking. That means 30% (or 25%-35%) the time you spend on activities like PPC, SEO, and social media marketing should be spent on networking specifically.
Now, on the where question, that’s a little more difficult to answer. It really depends on your business and who your potential customers are. If you cater to a consumer-oriented crowd that spends time playing Zynga games on Facebook then you should spend time on Facebook. If your audience is on Twitter then be on Twitter. If you cater to businesses or a more professional crowd then spend time on LinkedIn.
It is important to define and narrow your goals for networking when you decide to start your networking plan. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time doing nothing and wasting time.