Twelve timeless ideas to help us all make the most of our online networking (or social media) time.

One needs not collect all the statistics from around the world just to conclude that social media marketing has become more than just an opportunity -- but rather a necessity.

Many professionals haven't clearly defined why they are getting on social networking sites. It's more important than ever to understand your reasons for showing up. As you add value and gain credibility on these sites, you'll activate trust in your followers. Value, credibility, and trust are the main components that turn an observer to a follower, a follower to a fan, a fan to a lead, and a lead into a client.

Facebook is the largest social network online having surpassed half a billion users. While competition is fierce, if you can master the art of creating a popular and beneficial Facebook page then you can also master the art of generating social traffic and your marketing message can go viral producing massive returns in the long run.

Social media success is not achieved simply by adding thousands of unknown followers to your contacts. When you focus on numbers only, you invite in a fair share of unwanted spam and junk followers. It's important to have a well matched following who is open to your comments, information, and expertise.

We all know by now, that when you make a habit of connecting with potential customers little and often, on topics that they care about, you increase the likelihood of them doing business with you. That could be 5 minutes each network per day. 5 minutes on each of the 5 major networks is less than half an hour; why do most of us drag our feet on such a simple way to increase our online visibility and build our business? Procrastination.

Social media provides a platform for businesses to easily connect with their customers, and if you're using it correctly it can produce a 100% increase your bottom line. A good blog should be looked at an extension of your business and a part of your sales time. Blogs can perform a multitude of beneficial tasks and provide a business with an additional source of income, increased brand recognition, and enhanced customer interaction.

You make the most of a social network when you know how it works. With the advent of each new platform we all have to learn new skills. While it is annoying to have to stop doing business as usual and learn a new set of skills, it does make us more skilled in the long run. Social networking has had far more impact on how we do business online than it might appear on the surface.

Whatever nefarious intention Mark Zuckerberg had when he originated Facebook, the social media site works best as "a book" that links a name to a face. Here are the basic descriptions of all the current social media sites. The understanding of these platforms help you capture the essence of the target market. A point on use of social media drives the inbound leads at your doorstep.

These days, I imagine if Dorothy was lost in the internet jungle that is what she would be saying as she skipped down the yellow brick road trying to figure out social networking sites.From a business perspective, it provides a new media to engage customers, monitor customer feedback and provide a centralized online meeting area to engage and market too all at once.