Business owners have still to capitalise on the power that social networking provides. At the moment companies and Internet marketers are largely using social networking sites to advertise their products and services. Some businesses are using social networks to help communicate with customers and colleagues, but that’s about all.

However, online social networking has a huge advantage compared with offline social networks. The activities of the network are visible and trackable by anyone. This is not the case with offline networks. For example, across the world there are people in bars, restaurants and at dinner parties chatting about their favourite film, for instance. However, Hollywood producers don’t know what they are saying. The world over, people could be saying nice things about a movie, or nasty things.

Online, of course, what they say is there for all to see. So, Hollywood producers could track what’s going on in social networks to find out what people think of their latest film. This could guide them to produce the next blockbuster. Equally it could guide them towards legal action against the negative comments.

Other businesses could do the same. Social networks provide a huge opportunity for market research. They also open up the floodgates for lawyers to take actions which previously they could not have done as the damaging comments said in offline public settings are not easily identifiable.

Business analysts in Australia expect automatic tracking software to be available in the next couple of years. In the meantime, if you are an Internet marketer you can use social networks to find out what the latest trends are, what people are discussing and use that information to help you decide what products and services you can roll out in the future.

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