Social networking is big today. Everywhere you go on the internet you hear about Social media or social networking.

Social networking used to be the domain of college students, school kids and geeks. But nowadays it is business that is realising the power of social networking.

Networking is not new, what is new is how we network. Back in the day, we used to collect telephone numbers from people whom we met at parties and other types of gatherings. Business people would collect business cards.

But today with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Friendfeed, etc, we can collect a lot more about a person. We can also offer a lot more.

But the sad part is that so many people still fear social networking types of sites. They are afraid that they would be giving too much information to strangers.

That is a valid problem. I would caution anyone who could get into social networking to not divulge too much personal information to strangers.

So then, how does one get into social networking? How do you build a network that is beneficial and solid.

Here are some tips for you to follow:

Start with people you know – The best way to start off is to connect with people you know. Friends, family, acquaintances, business partners, colleagues.

Follow the experts – We are not beyond learning new things. You and I are constantly gaining new knowledge from experts in our respective industries. Reach out and follow those experts in your niche.

Follow Your Followers’ Followers – Research the followers of people whom you follow. They might have similar interests to you. Then follow those whom you think will be of benefit to you. Remember don’t follow for the sake of following.

Push the envelope – Broaden your reach. Extend invitations to people in groups to which you belong in both the real and online worlds, such as professional organizations, clubs, church groups.

Invite others to follow you – Social networking is a two way street. To truly build a social network presence you have to have people follow you. Start inviting the people whom you follow to follow you. Then broaden that out to other people.

Soon enough you will have built up a substantial following. Rinse and then repeat. Happy networking!

Tell me, if you already have a great big network, how did you build up your network. What tricks of the trade can you share with us?