Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Do we need a small business social network?

Great article in the Wall Street journal last few days, about blogging and small businesses use of bloggers to promote their business. Here is my synopsis:

Independent Street : Matching Blogs With Small Businesses

Is a blog written by the writer of a similar article on Monday morning in The Wall Street Journal. The CEO of ITEX, The small business community and barter company, just handed an article to me this morning. So I went to the website of WSJ that referred me to this business blog above, I am very interested in this topic, as we are building a series of Small business social networking sites. The first one is focused on small businesses, and will be our first business social network, generic on the topic of businesses.

Getting back to the article above, it is more in-depth, but to read it online you have to be a paid subscriber of WSJ, which kind of stinks in my opinion. So since, I have the hard copy, here is my synopsis of the article by Shelly Banjo published on Monday March 17th, 2008 titled “ATTENTION, BLOGGERS, For small businesses that can’t afford a lot of marketing, the blogsphere offers a cheaper alternative”:

First of all, go get a free trial to the WSJ online section, and go read the article. Secon, our business blogs are never a substitution of the original source. We can never claim to be as good as writers from WSJ, but in particular this article is written very well. The bottom line is that the article talks about the power of bloggers, especially top notch bloggers to help you promote your product. For technology reviews the blog was mentioned, in the first example. A company owner from a bean bag chair traded 20 chairs for advertising on their site, and the pure advertisement lead to a mention in Playboy magazine. The free exposure on Playboy magazine article sold over 500 chairs, all because of visitors from Engadget. But the theme of the article is not just that blogging is a great way to promote your businesses, which we think it is.

What Shelly is saying is that you should try to get professional bloggers in your target business community or topic to blog about your product. This is not easy, but by giving stuff away free stuff to them, by visiting their blogging site and commenting on their blogs, you can get their attention. And, their exposure is very valuable as these blogging communities are very active and can help spread the news about your products. The goal here is to be a participative member of the community where your potential customers are spending time online.

This to me is why business social networking makes sense, which truly is a B2b exchange is not? Not just a whole, but has to be for each niche industry. So imagine a business social network for each industry such as Dentists social networking, Lawyers social networking, massage therapists social networking? I think people in each professional industry do want to connect with each other, and usually do, especially as they have something big in common?

This can be done by commenting on major blogs, blogging about your businesses on a regular basis, on your separate domain, but we recommend doing it on,, and on I actually just mentioned our website on the author of this article’s blog at WSJ, I actually posted a link to too, by simply writing just like it’s done here. If you comment on a news site or a major blogging community site, they will probably let you link back to your site, but you have to do the link back properly. The easiest way to add a link is by adding the URL such as, as in this case I did it for Some times, you can also do links with hyper text to just the keywords without the www or http, this is preferred by most blogging sites don’t allow this with the html code. Link back from these sites are not only great for mention and a link back to your company, but they are the most important factor in Google’s view of the value of your site. We talk a lot about this in our SEO blogs site and I am sure you have read about this, if not just read any of our articles on SEO & blogging coach from our main page.

This article is interesting because matching businesses with other businesses (b2b) is what we are all about because of our relationship with the Barter company ITEX. We are actually in the process of building a b2b marketing and b2b business social networking site for them. We are in the final design and coding phases. The business social networking concept is nothing new, but it’s still not being full leveraged, we hope take our expertise with blogging Social Network in to the business segment. We will see how this works, so do stay tuned…


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