Social networking is frequently touted as one of the greatest ways to drive new business. Just keep writing, blogging, podcasting, tweeting, or pinning and the sales will eventually follow. That may be true, for some. But for most of us, sales and marketing is still a 1:1 process. Meeting people in person makes the difference.
If you’ve wondered how to make online social networks turn into profitable business networking, then this review of Biznik is for you. Biznik is an online networking community for independent business people.
I have been using Biznik since 2008 and it has opened up a number of sales for my company. It is similar to other social networks in terms of creating a profile about yourself and your company, but at its core it has created a space for independent business owners to send to and receive referrals from one another as well as establish their expertise in the articles section.
Being a member of Biznik means that you take the business you own seriously, and want to network with other business owners who feel the same way. Last summer, I created a marketing event with Infusionsoft small business expert, Tyler Garns, and we successfully pulled in 55 attendees mostly via Biznik. It was a seriously engaged group – we had a ton of discussion and creative brainstorming among the group.
They offer free and premium memberships. I have toggled between pro levels and free level depending on business events I’m planning. Basic paid level membership starts at $79/year.
What I really like:
- Online to real world. There’s a strong sense of “let’s meet in person” at Biznik.
- A profile that is optimized for search. I have heard many members say their Biznik profile shows up on page one for a keyword that is relevant to their business.
- A real hands-on approach when you start: You get a personal message from the directory of community who offers to help you get going.
- Their old tagline: Business networking that doesn’t suck.
- Event management tool so that you can register and communicate with attendees. Biznik manages payment processing at no additional cost for ProVIP membership level.
What I’d like to see:
- There used to be a referral tool, and it was a great idea, but they disabled it. I’d like to see a way to track or manage or engage with the referral itself.
- A way to filter your network by category/location/relationship.
Overall, I love Biznik as a social network. It is a wonderful collection of committed business owners who understand that business happens when you truly connect, in person and online. It takes both.
If you’re looking for a more local and regional way to find other independent business professionals, who might be allies or potential customers, Biznik is worth a look.