Facebook, friends, fans, pages, Twitter, tweets, followers, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, blogging, CMSâ€•do you feel overwhelmed by the social media networking craze? You are not alone! But think about this: Where would Microsoft be had it failed to update its Windows operating system? Even today, Microsoft refuses to stay behind, because it too uses Facebook and Twitter.This is the first of several articles I will be writing on the most popular and successful social media networking technologies that the home-building community should take advantage of for three reasons:They are free.They provide tremendous value in building your brand and enhancing your online presence.They are where your current and future customers are hanging out!How does it all work?Think of a social media networking strategy as the construction of a high-performance home. If you’re a green builder, you know that building a high-efficiency home goes beyond putting certain products together, even if they are Energy Star or labeled “green.” Green home building requires an integrated approach. It entails a different way of thinking. A beautiful green-built home begins with a great design, one that takes into consideration many aspects, including site selection, home orientation, eco-friendly materials and green building strategies.It’s all about strategy and avoiding mistakesJust like building a green home, social media networking requires a planâ€•a strategy with a purposeâ€•in order to maximize your profits and productivity as a business owner.Social media networking and bookmarking go beyond blogging and having online discussions with your friends and co-workers about what you had for lunch or how tired you’re feeling on a Monday morning after a crazy weekend.Your social media networking strategy deserves an integrated approach. It requires a strategy. You want to manage your online presence because this is where your customers and business associates are and where they will be reading about you. And when they do, you don’t want to have any regrets about what you’ve shared with the world.Use social media networking to extend your business relationships with your customers and colleagues. Avoid posting messages and photos that you would not share with Granny, your customers or your new boss. Your business image can easily be damaged by making these mistakes.Your strategy should involve posting “online billboards” in various social media networking platforms to attract future customers to your website, thus increasing online traffic with the goal of turning leads into loyal customers. Successful businesses are using social media to stay connected with their current customer base and to attract new clients in a transparent, friendly, informative, and non-threatening manner.Your blog is keyOne of the main things you need in order to sing your tune and get with the social media dance is a blog for your business. Your blog serves as a platform where you regularly share your knowledge and expertise. In addition, your blog serves as a way to engage with your customers. It should have a mechanism for visitors to leave comments and submit questions. In short, your blog begins the discussion.Blogging tipsThree things to keep in mind about blogging:Keep your articles customer-friendly, yet professional.Respond in a timely manner to questions or comments.End your articles with a call to action.Larger organizations have departments dedicated to managing their online presence. Although you may not have the ability to hire someone solely to manage your social media presence, consider cross-training and selecting a couple of key individuals in your organization who are internet-savvy and can help you in this area.How do you get started?First, familiarize yourself with social media lingo. Attend social media classes, spend time learning about these (free!) tools and technologies, and study how other colleagues and businesses in your industry are using them.Second, begin mapping a social media marketing strategy to enhance your online presence. Decide which platforms make sense for you to use for your business, and learn more about them.Third, create a schedule to manage your online brand. You can easily manage your strategy in approximately seven hours each month. This is a doable time commitment to manage your online branding using platforms that cost you nada!Questions or comments? Your feedback is welcome.