Facebook now has 500 million active users with those users spending more than 700 billion minutes on this site alone! You might see Facebook and other social network sites as nothing more than a way to catch up with friends and tell everybody what you had for dinner last night, but some people have found ways to profit from social networking. (For more, check out the Top Social Media Entrepreneurs.)
IN PICTURES: 6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes
You've probably heard of the many coupon sites online but have you thought of finding coupons on sites like Twitter? Go to Twitter and do a search for coupons. You'll find loads of feeds that offer savings on products that you use every day. Most larger retailers and manufacturers have Twitter feeds.
In addition, Facebook is home to many company sites offering savings. Simply do a Facebook search for the products you normally use to find their page. Many of those sites will offer coupons on their pages. But why spend time on Facebook and Twitter if you can simply clip the coupon from the newspaper? Often, coupons found on social networking sites are only offered online. The savvy coupon-user knows that not all coupons are offered at all outlets so each one must be checked. (For more, see Coupon Shopping: Clip Your Way To Savings.)
We know what you're thinking: Job hunting using social networking is nothing more than having a lot of friends and asking them if they've heard of any openings. Before you skip this section, social media sites can help you find a job using better methods than your buddy and the rumor mill. Let's look at one way:
Jobster.com is a web search portal that not only maintains job listings through its website but also has a Facebook application. Facebook users can use this application to post their resume, network with other people in their field, and connect with the Jobster network. Large corporations like GE, Merill Lynch, and Nike pay $100 per month to access resumes from the Jobster Facebook application (according to Businessweek) so you can be sure that this Facebook application is truly connecting seekers with recruiters.
We've all heard of borrowing money from a bank but from each other? In the same Businessweek article, CEO of Lendingclub.com Renaud Laplanche says, "Person-to-person lending works best in an environment where people feel connected to one another, lending to friends and friends of friends." This makes Facebook the perfect place to connect with people who will lend money at competitive rates.
What's unique about this company is that it got its start from a Facebook application that allows a person to meet up with lenders from within their existing Facebook networks and social groups. Once the two people are connected, an interest rate is negotiated and using Lendingclub as a go-between, terms are finalized and the loan is made. Try it! (To learn more, see Lending Clubs: Better Than Banks?)
Save Money (But Not in the Ways You Think)
How much do you save each week if you cook meatless meals? $30! How much do you save by turning your computer off at night? About $15 per month!
These are just a few of the ways you will learn to save money by visiting the LiveSolid Facebook page and using the app located at the "Daily Dollar" tab. This budgeting app is not like others you may have seen. There is no entering of your financial information and there's no setting up of budgeting categories. You simply enter the amount of money you would like to save each day and then drag icons representing everyday activities until the savings add up to your goal.
IN PICTURES: Top 6 Mindless Money Wasters
If you normally buy coffee in the morning, drag the "make your own coffee" icon to the big box and LiveSolid tells you that you are $3 closer to your daily savings goals. If you can commit to one day each week of spending no money, that can save you up to $20 per day if you can cut out those small daily expenses that most of us don't think about. Give this app a try!
The Bottom Line
Social networking isn't just for catching up with friends anymore. If you've been avoiding social networking because you didn't see any monetary value, avoid no more. These sites that were once for teens and twenty somethings are now for all of us! OMG! (For the other side of the coin, check out 4 Ways Social Media Makes You Spend More.)
For the latest financial news, see Water Cooler Finance: Lions And Diapers And Dows, Oh My!