The Best Social Networking tools

We often wonder which are the best social networking tools to promote our business. In many ways it’s all and none.

There’s no shortage from which we can shoose from a business perspective: My space, Facebook, Bebo, Youtube, Blogging, Twitter, Live streaming TV, Ranking sites like Technorati, delicious and Stumbleupon, Virtual world spaces like second life.

The list is endless. In fact wikipedia lists the most notable (well over 100) here.

The best ones to engage and use aren’t those necessarily with the most people, the most features or the most anything. The best ones to use are those which you use properly. The way in which they were intended. There’s no point having your brand or startup on any of them – unless you engage the crowd in the conversation ‘they want to have”.

What does this mean?

It means be there often – turn up, and talk.

It means listen to them – it’s their place not ours.

It means share the information people want to have shared in ‘that’ forum.

It means, give first to them, and expect nothing back.

It means learn from their wisdom.

It means show your personaility and have an opinion.

It means create value to them, whatever value means in that forum.

It means be part of a dialogue, not a monologue.

In real terms all these tools are, is a personification of yourself, startup or brand. Don’t engage in behavior you wouldn’t engage in while in the real world. We mustn’t act like an Amway Sales Agents on line. If it’s bad form in the real world, it’s bad form in the on-line world.

If we just put our brand on all of these spaces and don’t get involved – it’s a waste of time for all parties involved. We are much better off embracing one or two forums and using them often and consistently. Going there, isn’t the same as being there. They are not shortcuts to brand fame. In fact, they take longer, but can be of greater value.

Given that the web is a conversation – we must embrace it and have manners. If we’re patient it’s worth the effort.

Media diet – startup style

As promoted in the 4 hour work week a media diet is a nice way save time. For entrepreneurs a different type of media diet is required.

A business trends diet

Here’s how – avoid all business related articles as they pertain to new strategies & trends.

Here’s why – We already know enough to be successful. Our problem is doing the stuff.

Unless we are just starting in the business world – we’ve heard every strategy and the fact is that most ‘new’ business ideas are simple derivatives of business theories which have been around since the birth of commerce. Cables channels and tech stuff is the worst. Who’s got the time to read 86 posts from techcrunch every day? – not me.

We ought just trust our judgment and make the call that we know enough to get moving…and the rest we’ll learn on the job…. So in the spirit of this blog entry, ignore the articles you were about to read and get back to your stuff.

Keeping up to date

Can be a huge time waster. The irony for us in startup land is that it’s our job to stay informed.

Startup blog advice: If you need to stay on top of a broad topic find a good aggregator.

Someone who’ll cover stuff when it becomes important enough for you to know. Seth Godin does this for me as far as web 2.0 and new marketing is concerned. Startup blog does this for you as far as keeping your mind thinking as an entrepreneur should.

Got some good short cut summary sites? On new technology, web sites, new businesses? Add them to comments.