Getting 'friended'. Sending Tweets. Linking up. There is no doubt that the world of social networking sites is a great way to make connections. In no time at all, you can build a list of hundreds, even thousands, of potential new clients that are not limited by geography (which is essential if you are developing podcasts or selling downloads online). Then you can promote your services all over the world for nothing!

Yes, nothing! Have I explained that FREE is my favorite word, especially when it comes to marketing! The ROI (Return on Investment) is 100%- you can't beat that!

Here are some major social networking sites that you should be aware of:

1. Facebook- You can set up a page for your business and get Fans (or be Liked as it is now called). Or if you are a writer for example, set up a separate account for your writing persona (ex- leave out your maiden name or add an initial to your personal account). Each 'Friend' is a potential reader! Then send out occasional updates to your writing, services, sales,etc. (Stay tuned for more details on how to leverage Facebook).

2. LinkedIn- A great professional networking site that allows you to set up a profile and join groups similar to your field of interest. Post articles and share with others in the group. Link with other people and find strategic partners for referrals. And so much more.

3. Ning- A relatively new site that provides many different avenues to showcase your services. You can set up a blog, chat rooms for live chats for Q&A sessions, add photos and videos, and so much more. (In summer 2010, Ning will no longer be free to create a site, but the developers promise the fee will be minimal.)

4. Twitter- One of the easier sites to use, once you know the rules and language and have decided on what you will ‘tweet’ about- i.e. if you will send out helpful tips, motivational quotes, conversational topics or personalized statements. In essence, Twitter allows to share 140 characters to a number of friends, family, strangers who follow you.
So there are the top four social networking sites. If you know of others, please let me know!

And remember, I did say the ROI is 100% in terms of your financial investment, but not your time if you don't use these sites wisely. You can spend hours playing around, searching for lost loves or joining tons of groups/pages. Monitor your time and activities! Otherwise your ROI will be -100% (if that's possible)!

Author's Bio: 

At Outside the Box Marketing, Meghan Gehan uses social media and internet marketing to enhance the small businesses of wellness providers. Find more information at or And 'like' her on Facebook at Outside the Box Marketing.