networking_professionalsSo you already have an account on LinkedIn or MySpace. But why put all of your eggs in one basket? With the vast number of social networking sites out there it is easy to get discouraged. Here’s a list of the social networking sites you should be concentrating your efforts on, if your goal is to establish a solid online presence and grow your business.

1. LinkedIn
It is THE business networking site. It is a network of about 19 million business people representing over 150 industries. It allows you to connect and keep in touch with past and present employers, employees, clients, suppliers, as well as use these to expand your network of business relationships.
2. Xing
It is LinkedIn’s main European competitor. Xing provides professional contact management tools not found on other sites, like the Business Accelerator application which allows you to find experts and market yourself and your business in a professional setting to ultimately reach new markets and potential clients across international borders.
3. Facebook
Facebook is now past its reputation as a social networking site for college kids. With the millions of users and its rapid growth, businesses have discovered it is wise to tap into this fountain of youth. Plus, Facebook offers services that are suitable to any business’s marketing plan, like its classifieds section or Facebook Ads.
4. Work.com
It differs from the others in that it is a site where users publish how-to guides on their areas of expertise. Each author has his/her own profile page, and this in turn can have links to a business website. Some articles get published in its companion website, Business.com.
5. Business Exchange
It’s run by Business Week and allows users to post content on a topic and network with others in your niche.
6. BizNik
It is yet another site that allows users to post articles and share content. The main advantage of sites like BizNik is that you get the chance to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, an authority, which of course, will help you reach those new clients you hope to get.
7. Entrepreneur Connect
This site was just recently launched in January 2009. It allows you to not only build the relationships you seek, but also make use of its classifieds section and join groups, among other features.