LinkedIn - the online site for professionals - is used by about 54% of distributors and 46% of suppliers, with more than 85% using it for business purposes.
Facebook - a more casual online site - has the greatest penetration in the industry overall, with 59% of distributors and 62% of suppliers indicating they have a Facebook account. More than 60% of users say it’s for personal use only.
Nearly 90% of respondents feel social networking already is or will become a good way to promote their business.
Create a LinkedIn Group - Setup a group with a broader theme related your industry. Use the group to lead thinking in your market, then promote the group and build membership.
Answer Questions on LinkedIn - Ask and respond to relevant questions in the LinkedIn "Answers" section. Anytime you ask or answer a question it shows up in the Network Updates feed for all your connections. Best of all, you gain expertise points. LinkedIn users tend to trust experts in their subject categories and are often contacted directly.
Integrate LinkedIn Into Your Marketing - Anytime you do a webinar or present at a trade show or thought-leadership event, invite your audience to network with you or join your group. You can also notify all the members of your group about an upcoming promotion or event and drive them back to your site or blog.