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Social business networks are those that are intended to serve a dual purpose, helping businesspeople and professionals to form mutually beneficial business relationships.

Business networks are designed to help professionals connect with other professionals, business managers with other managers, and for entrepreneurs to advance their business interests through online business relationships. Businesses use business networks, like LinkedIn, to find potential employees, while job hunters may use the network to find employment, and business professionals use it to keep track of what others in the same industry are doing. Networking can also be a way of staying in touch with former co-workers.

For businesses, networking is a way of leveraging personal and business connections in order to further business interests, to form new business relationships, and to generate opportunities. In a sense online social business networking is the logical extension of industry trade shows and loyalty programs.

LinkedIn is a social network, like many others, but its focus is on business, designed specifically for serious job seekers, business networkers, and sales professionals, and offers free and premium memberships. Because of its function, user profiles on LinkedIn serve as resumes and, as such, knowledgeable users are more careful about the information they choose to include within the network than they are likely to be on other social networks, such as Facebook. Even those who are not currently seeking a job are nevertheless engaged in business networking, which suggests a more professional approach.

Rather than ranting about politics of social issues, members of a social business network are engaged in cultivating personal relationships with prospective employers, employees, and people working in the same industries.

Businesses may also use networking to establish brand identity and to build relationships with current and prospective customers. Some businesses use networking as a major factor in their marketing plans.

LinkedIn may be the largest social business network, at this point in time, but there are others. Most businesses and businesspeople who use LinkedIn also use Facebook for similar purposes, although Facebook isn't known specifically as a business network. Others include AngelList, Networking, Ning, Opportunity, Ryze, SlideShare, and Xing.

These and other social networks that were developed or function primarily as business networks are appropriate for this category.



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