Working with meaningful partners is the cornerstone of business success. As you grow your online presence, you will find that partnering with other businesses and individuals makes operating your own business much easier. With partnerships, you will learn new ways of managing a profitable business and you will be exposed to even greater opportunities. Here are some strategies to apply in finding and creating meaningful business partnerships:

B2B

Business-to-business partnerships are collaborations between you and others in your industry or niche area. In the online world, partnerships entail the relationship between two or more webmasters who work in tandem to promote each other’s business. You will enjoy mutual benefits when you can collaborate with other businesses that offer products or services that complement those that you offer.

One benefit that you will enjoy is greater visibility. By accommodating another business partner on your website, you will be surprised at how visible and accessible your website can become. When you offer complementary products and services, more customers are likely to visit your website than, if you were just selling a single product. This is especially true if as a small business, you collaborate with a more established and well-known business. Brand association with a business that is already doing well has the likelihood of boosting your own brand and subsequently, your business sales.

Moreover accommodating the products and services of another business will add more content to your website. This will make your site more informative, interactive and will enhance site visitors’ experience.

Affiliates

As your online business grows, consider creating an affiliate-marketing program. This approach will enable you to collaborate with professional marketers who will promote and market your product offering.

Affiliate marketing enables you to expand your brand’s online presence by working with affiliates who operate niche sites that attract a specific market. Affiliation can be beneficial for both you and your affiliates.

There are literally thousands of affiliate programs (Commission Junction, ShareASale, LinkShare, Affiliate Window, ClickBank, PayDotCom, etc.) online today, thus as you create yours you need to make it unique enough to attract successful, professional affiliate marketers. Your niche market is that which you are in, so the next step is to look for websites that have site visitors who might be interested in your product offering. The offer that you provide your affiliate partners should benefit both of you.

Create meaningful and creative promotional material that will help your affiliate partners in marketing your product/service. By making the work easier for your professional affiliate partners, you will make them more motivated to promote your offering.

Influencers

More and more businesses are seeing the importance of partnering with people such as celebrities, bloggers and journalists who have great social influence online. These influencers can have a great impact on your business when they endorse your brand or spread word of mouth information about your products.

An effective tool to use in finding influencers in your niche is Klout. This tool assesses a person’s influence on the basis of their ability to trigger an action.

WeFollow.com: This effective tool allows you to find people who create and promote meaningful content. It is also excellent in enabling you to find people who you can make aware of your tweets on Twitter. WeFollow.com allows you to follow top people on Twitter in your own niche area; you can then start to build relationships by following their tweets and encouraging them to follow yours. This tool only allows you to create three hash tags in one search for example #online marketer, #blogger, #social entrepreneur to find the influential people in these niches. This limitation minimizes spamming and cluttering of the directory.

Google+ Ripples: is a an interactive diagram that lets you see how your content is spreading and getting distributed by site users and the contacts in your social circle. You can access the Ripple diagram from the drop down menu located right of the post whose ripple effect you are monitoring. This diagram also lets you see the people who are sharing your content the most (Influencers) and the time period that the content was shared. You can use this information to make a connection with the influencers, if you have not yet done so. This data can be seen for both, your posts or the posts of those that you followed and shared them with you.

Reward Programs

In addition to building partnerships with businesses, you can also engage your target audience, fans and existing customers. One way to do this is through a rewards or loyalty program. An excellent service to use is FanGager, which addresses the need for businesses to identify their greatest fans and how to engage and reward them. Today, brands such as Orange, Nokia and American Express are using FanGager.

FanGager assesses your business’ social media activity and then collates the activity of your fans. Other pieces of information that this service helps you gather include your fans’ interests, geographical location and demographics. This information allows you to create games, contests, online credits and prizes to be won by the most positively active fan on these social media platforms. Fan activity is most based on how often they interact with your brand’s pages on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.