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The Internet has revolutionized the process of “Social Networking” but in truth, Social Networking is nothing new. If you stop to think about it, it has been around forever.

While the names and references may have changed over the years, the basic idea of social networking has remained the same. Very simply put, social networking is a way that people share, thoughts, experiences and recommendations with each other.

Back in the 1990s, when I was involved in traditional offline “Network Marketing” before I became interested in Affiliate Marketing on the Internet, we used to call social networking either word-of-mouth advertising or referral marketing. Here is how we would explain it:…

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We would ask people if they ever had a good experience at a restaurant, or received great service in a store, or went to a movie that really impressed them. Most people would say, “Yes, we have had those experiences.”

We would then ask them what happened afterwords. In most cases, they would say they went out and told family, friends and others about those good experiences. “That is networking!” We would say. “That is what referral marketing is all about!”

Today, we would call it Social Networking: telling others about experiences we have had.

Of course, there is also the “marketing” aspect of referral marketing
and social networking to consider.

We would ask people if, when they told others about their good restaurant, shop, or movie experiences, they ever got paid when people they referred to those businesses bought anything. They would say, “No, we did not get paid.” And we would say, “Would you like to?”

Social networking your products, services and business opportunities on the Internet is one way to take advantage of the benefits of referral marketing; in other words, a way to get paid for word-of-mouth advertising.

Many companies and individuals have products and services they want to sell to the masses, but they don’t want to pay big bucks for advertising. Instead, they allow you to become an affiliate and when you refer paying customers, you earn an affiliate commission based on sales. It is your responsibility to “network” information about the products and services to your online and offline “social” circles, your family, friends, business associates, etc.

The reason so many manufacturers and retailers like this form of social networking is because it allows them to build brand awareness and credibility for their products and services much more effectively than just advertising. It is the personal touch that makes all the difference.

A personal testimony sent to family and friends can be very powerful. You see this method of word-of-mouth promotion being applied quite extensively on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, IM faceplate and other popular social sites.

Again, it is a very friendly way to generate interest and credibility for a particular product, service or company.

If you think about it, social networking has been going on ever since the very first product or service was invented. It is human nature to want to share information, experiences and recommendations with others. If you are going to make those recommendations anyway, why not get paid for it?

That is the benefit of social networking, especially when you combine it with Affiliate Marketing and use the Internet to connect with like minded individuals from around the world.

Social Networking is nothing new. Everybody does it. You can, too!

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*You might also enjoy these Affiliate Power Central blog posts:

Social Networking For Internet Success

IM faceplate: Brand Yourself!

A Friendly Entrepreneur Community

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