Social networks like MySpace, Craigslist and Friendster are becoming the next big marketing tool for businesses. Have you ever thought about building your own social networking? You might think that you don’t really need to build your own social network or that it’s too much work to build your own social network but there are a lot of advantages that you get when you build your own social network.

You don’t have to build a social network that is as large as MySpace or Facebook. Personal or individual social networks are usually much smaller and much more geared towards a special niche audience. For example, many rock stars, movie stars, and sports stars now have their own social networks where people that are fans can connect with one another and get special updates and other exclusive information from the star.

Here are just a few of the advantages of building your own social network:

Information – When people sign up for your social network you get to collect their email addresses and information about them. This can be very valuable for a business because you can use those email addresses to send targeted marketing emails to customers that you already know are interested in your products. Plus you can find out information about your customers that will help you develop a better sales strategy for the future.

Access – Whether you want to publicize a new product launch or promote a product that you already have on the market you will be gaining access to customers that are already interested in your products. Having unlimited access to interested customers is well worth the investment to build your own social network.

Income – When you build your own social network you can also sell advertising slots on that social networking and collect income from those ads. So you are adding another revenue stream just by building a social networking site. As the site grows so will the interest that other companies have in advertising to the members of your social network. You can be selective about what types of companies you allow to advertise on the site. For the best results you should pick companies that sell products that are complementary to your own.

If you haven’t already considered building your own social networking site to go with your existing site or as a completely new project now is the time to start seriously considering it. More and more companies are going to start building community sites and competing for consumer interest so building your own community or social networking site now is a good idea.