A business might cringe at the thought of adding another social network to its already growing list of sites to update. If a business is using the mainstream social media platforms for business purposes, it is going to have to wade through a lot of information each time just to get to the business pieces. Industry specific social networks can be the answer. Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk said on SocialMediaToday.com, “Industry-specific social networking sites allow you to interact with professionals from your industry exclusively and are focused on news and events that affect your business directly.”
Biznik is a social network geared towards independent business owners. I love its tagline, the social network that “doesn’t suck.” Biznik focuses on business owners connecting with other business owners and side stepping the hard sell and self-promotion. It wants users to connect with other users who can show support and give advice, because running a business alone is not easy.
The platform lets the user pick a local community. It will show how many people are in the area and what industry category they fall into. Biznik offers a pretty standard profile page and makes connecting with other members easy. Users can write articles, comment on articles and join and form groups. The special feature I found to Biznik is it offers real events where members can meet and take their online connection into the real world.
I wasn’t able to join Biznik and test it out because it requires a fee. The site does provide plenty of supporting materials to help users make the decision to join. On Biznik.com I found the following reason listed as to why Biznik is unique. “Permeating all public interaction, is the 95/5 Principle that limits blatant self-promotion and sales to 5% of the content on the site and inside events. This is not a place to find customers, it’s a place to pass referrals, and be a source of opportunities, new ideas and support.” It’s important for members to feel they will be joining a quality platform for their money and this promise to limit the sales pitch is great.
TJ McCue reviewed Biznik on Smallbiztrends.com and gave his insight on the platform, since he’s been a member since 2008. Two features McCue really liked are the events that bring the space into the real world and the profile that is optimized for SEO. He claims it has provided a number of sales for his business.
The message being shared for a business on Biznik probably wouldn’t work for the main social media platforms, since this is geared towards business relationships. LinkedIn could tie in well with IMC efforts, as similar messages for business could be shared on both.
Local businesses in general definitely need to be a part of proximity marketing. When it comes to incorporating proximity marketing into Biznik, I think the area to focus on is the events. Users could check-in when attending the real world functions and that would provide promotion to those users’ followers. That promotion could lead to new users signing up.
While I don’t see Biznik becoming one of the main social platforms people use, I do see it being extremely popular with business owners. In 2009 Mashable listed it on their Top 10 Social Networks for Entreprenuers. With it being industry specific, it isn’t going to resonate with the mainstream population enough to compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter.