Fortunately, it’s starting to feel like the wave of social media hype has crested and small businesses can turn their attention to understanding social media “best practices” rather than obsessing over next week’s new tool.
Today’s greatest small business opportunity awaits those who learn to skillfully blend the awareness creating, automating, and filtering aspects of social media platforms with the trust and customer building aspects of education based, face-to-face networking.
Seattle based social media upstart Biznik (well, compared to the likes of Facebook or LinkedIn) has positioned itself as this new breed of network tool. Biznik’s primary target is small business owners and, while they have plenty of real estate to tap, it’s primary objective is to build a social network that combines the best of an online platform with localized community events and human contact.
On the platform side the tool allows you to effectively build a profile (here’s mine), post articles, invite members to become a part of your network, join and create groups around community or themes, and create and promote local events. (More on this)
On the harder to quantify side, the quality of engagement in this network far outstrips anything I’ve seen and been a part of in other networks. This comes through loud and clear in things like article comments and messages to new members. In some ways, this would be enough to make Biznik a winner for the small business, but it’s the tip of the iceberg, I think, for people who drill down into this a bit.
The fact that Biznik has also created an event platform that is geographically driven presents a unique opportunity. So, now if you want to create a Feed Your Mind Networking Breakfast, like Jesse Wolfram in Mill Creek Washington does, you’ve got a targeted network and a ready made platform. I think it might be one of the best way to optimize social networking and traditional business building
I visited with Biznik co-founder Dan McComb for an upcoming episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast (Dan acts as the online editor while his spouse and co-founder, Lara Feltin, acts as CEO) and Dan confessed that the organization’s West Coast roots led to lots of natural growth in communities like Seattle and Portland, but that there is tremendous opportunity for growth elsewhere. To me this is a platform ripe for community leaders.
While Facebook and LinkedIn are grabbing headlines and remain great places to build business, I think small business folks should join Biznik and start building there as well.