Social networking is a great tool for finding business partners to help your business succeed.  The benefit of using social networking for finding business partners is that you have the options of searching through thousands of profiles versus meeting people individually. You open the field up to meeting with a wide array of potential business partners that could take you years to find through traditional networking methods.

Here are 3 great ways for finding business partners through social networking:

1. Continuously connect with people on Twitter and build up communications with like-minded individuals . I have often thought of Twitter as the great lead machine. Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter allows you to connect with thousands of people who you do not know ahead of time. Some people fear connecting with so many people that they do not know. I feel that is part of the allure of Twitter, because it allows me to widen my net. Additionally, build on the professional relationship created on Twitter through Facebook and LinkedIn.

2. Stay active in forums that are relevant to your business. Forums are a remarkable way to stay connected to people in your industry. You get to connect with people over real topics. Those who become your ally on different topics, time and again will prove someone you might want to deepen the professional relationship. The key is that you must stay active long enough to receive those benefits and find those people.

3. Facebook/LinkedIn Groups are great for meeting people based on geography, similar interests, and industry. Because of the proliferation of new groups on these sites, you can find a group for almost any interest. An extreme example is one on Facebook. I just heard about a group for people interested in punching slow walking people in the head. I did a Facebook search on this and found over a dozen groups just on this topic (weird, but true). If you can think it, there is someone else out there who will be your partner in it.

Remember that finding business partners through social networking is only the beginning. Building a relationship with someone through social networking can take time. Go back to Social Networking Matchmaker for my analogy on building a professional relationship. In the end, the benefits will far outweigh the time spent, as you are finding business partners through social networking who makes a positive difference in your business.