From the June 2009 issue of Startups

These days, our influence is measured by the number of Twitter followers we have, offline friends are at risk of taking a back seat to Facebook friends, and LinkedIn is the go-to for professional relationships. It's the era of social networking, but how can you rein in all that energy and use it to market your business? Here are tips from Juliette Powell, author of 33 Million People in the Room: How to Create, Influence and Run a Successful Business with Social Networking.

Facebook

  • Frequently update your status with the most interesting parts of your business life. "The more interesting you're perceived to be, the more likely you are to carry influence across your network."
  • Use Notes as a way to spread information or publicize your blog entries. "Sharing links on your profile is becoming a widely accepted alternative to forwarding them via e-mail."
  • Take advantage of apps like Six Degrees for a visual layout of your friends and how they're interconnected. Then use that knowledge to home in on potentially helpful business contacts.

Linkedin

  • Join relevant groups and answer questions in your area of expertise. This will increase your visibility, credibility and reach.
  • See what people are saying about you and your company, then join the conversation in real time with Company Buzz, an app that shows you the Twitter activity associated with your company.

Twitter

  • Follow those who are relevant to your industry or business. Then, decide which of their methods is most effective in getting the biggest number of respondents. By watching the strategies of others, you'll have a better idea of what will work on your own followers.
  • Expand your reach across multiple platforms by using Twitter's Facebook application, which automatically updates your Facebook status as you tweet in real time and directly from your smartphone.