NZIM COMMENT : Successful Networking - the Rules of Engagement; Suddenly Everyone Is Talking about the Power of Networks. Truth Is, They Have Been around in One Form or Another since the Clock of Humanity Started Ticking. Technology Has, However, Exponentially Expanded Their Reach, Composition and Influence on Our Everyday Lives. NZIM Southern CEO Kevin Vincent Gives His Spin on the Importance of Networks and Networking

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Vincent

There is a plethora of networking options available. They have been important as far back as the medieval confraternal time of a[euro]brotherhoodsa[euro] and a[euro]clansa[euro]. Todaya[euro]s technologically advanced post-modernistic societal networkers have given the phenomenon new meaning however.

The Oxford Dictionary lists the meanings of networking as follows:

a[euro]cents Network a[euro]" intransitive verb to build up or maintain informal relationships, especially with people whose friendship could bring advantages such as job or business opportunities. An extended group of people with similar interests or concerns who interact and remain in informal contact for mutual assistance or support.

a[euro]cents Networking a[euro]" the process or practice of building up or maintaining informal relationships, especially with people whose friendship could bring advantages such as job or business opportunities.

a[euro]cents Social network a[euro]" a social network service focuses on the building in verifying of online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others, and which necessitates the use of software.

The purposes of networking today are either for business or social (personal) interactions of commonly interested links of people.

The earliest internet-based social network sites located and linked people. Classmates a[euro]" www.classmates.com and Trade Mea[euro]s www.oldfriends.co.nz are examples. These social media websites help members find, connect and keep in touch with friends and acquaintances from throughout their lives. They are friendship-based models.

These models have proliferated. They now include Facebook, My Space, Blinker.me, Twitter and Bebo. This kaleidoscopic array of internet-based social network sites offers different designs each with slightly varying and evolving application.

Facebook is now the most visited social network, with nearly 1.2 billion visits in January this year. That is an increase of 36 percent on December, and 256 percent up on the previous 12 months. MySpace slipped into second place at the end of 2008 and since September of that year the number of visits has levelled off at about 810,000 a month.

Social networking sites have become an important business tool for strategic marketers. They help businesses obtain better search engines or ranking as messages are conveyed from advertisers to public.

One of the challenges for social media, however, is to show the kind of positive return-on-investment to attract companies to invest more in social media marketing.

Research from social media platform Wetpaint and digital consulting firm Altimeter Group found that a[euro]companies with the highest levels of social media activity increased revenues by an average 18 percent in the last 12 months. The least active saw sales drop six percent over that period.a[euro]

Marketing strategies must constantly adapt to different market environment dimensions. Customers and prospects now have unlimited access to products and services and constantly search for profitable prospects online. If a product is not advertised on the internet it could well be left out of the game.

Social network sites are becoming increasingly popular a[euro]" and not just with generations X and Y. My baby boomer contemporaries are increasingly comfortable and adept with this new communications technology and the instant messaging and interaction benefits it delivers.

Among those benefits are the free offerings including remote access for PDAs, modern mobile phones and laptops that can be carried in purse or pocket. Some social network sites also offer free media tools, such as You Tube. With video added or downloaded free, this is a fantastic attraction for modern day marketers. …

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