Peer networks can be a great way to find trusted business advisors, but it often can be difficult to balance online outreach with running a small business. Often times you can find a similar small business owner, in a different non-competing market, to share best practices on marketing, technology, vendors and suppliers.
A few social networking sites for small businesses include: IncBizNet, JumpUp and Sta.Rtup.Biz.
SOCIAL NETWORK TIPS
1. Don't bite off more than you can chew; pick a couple of sites you can regularly commit to interacting on and building your network. Some of the sites I keep up with via Google Reader are: Duct Tape Marketing, SmallBizTechnology.com, Small Business Trends, and ChrisBrogan
2. Make your profile as comprehensive as possible. Use descriptive keywords as these sites are picked up by search engines.
3. Include links to your company Web site or blog.
4. Join a forum or group (like our Small Business Forum) and answer questions when possible. People want to interact – if you scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours.