Social networking websites offer a variety of free advertising that can be used by restaurants, nightclubs and even lawyers' offices.
Jeffrey Marshall, founding attorney at Marshall, Parker & Associates, 49 E. Fourth St., uses Twitter, but not as a way to find more clients.
Unlike some social networking websites, someone can follow a person without the other person confirming it, such as if a fan wants to follow a celebrity.
More than 1,000 people who’ve sent friend requests to the Cell Block but have to wait until other people are deleted as the business has the reached Facebook’s limit on accepting “friend” requests.
Attorney Jeffrey Marshall checks his Twitter account. Marshall says he finds Twitter useful in keeping up to date with numerous groups and individuals influential to the fields of law he practices.
The user can send out messages about any topic in 140 characters or less, which is known as a "tweet."
Marshall's Twitter account, @elderlawguy, has 727 followers and 1,051 tweets.
"Our law firm prides itself on staying cutting edge," Marshall said. "We're known throughout the state for being on top of changes in policies (concerning elder law) ... The reason I got on Twitter is to stay on top of the changes taking place or proposed changes. I really got on Twitter to follow, not be followed."
Most of his followers are lawyers, health agencies and hospice workers.
"I try to get information and pass it along," Marshall said. "People can use it to benefit their clients."
Some people use the social networking website as a way to "humanize" themselves, but Marshall avoids that.
"For me, Twitter is like going to newspapers," he said. "You have people you trust, like you have newspapers you trust. It's really current information. It can be from trustworthy sources."
One of the reasons Marshall said he likes Twitter is because it does not take much time.
"If you got five minutes, you can't write an article for a blog," he said. "But I can just link to the report."
One social networking website that is older than Twitter, but still used frequently by businesses, is Facebook.
Facebook is a social networking website that allows users to connect with other people through status updates, pictures, video and instant messaging.
Cell Block, 154 W. Third St., has run into trouble with its friends: as in, having too many.
Facebook allows a maximum of 5,000 friends. The Williamsport Cell Block has 4,998 friends.
Josh Hertwig, an owner and manager, uses Facebook to post statuses, a message 500 characters or less, normally about what a user is doing or will be doing. On the days the bar is open, Wednesday through Saturday, two or three statuses are posted with drink specials and DJs that are playing.
Hertwig said people want to be the nightclub's friend to know about the specials and to see if any pictures of them were added.
Three years ago, Cell Block in Williamsport started using Facebook. Hertwig believes there are people who added it because they lived here, but no longer need it.
"Go ahead and defriend us," he said. "We don't mind."
More than 1,000 people are waiting to be added.
"Everyone uses (Facebook) that is a customer here," Herwig said. "Younger and older people."
While people of different ages use Facebook, Foursquare is a social networking site primarily used by the younger generation, Jody Odell-Zimmerman, director of operations of the Bullfrog Brewery, said.
The Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St., uses Foursquare as a way for customers to interact with each other, Odell-Zimmerman said.
Foursquare lets users "check in" to where they currently are, and they can post it on the website for Foursquare friends to see, in addition to Twitter and Facebook.
Bullfrog Brewery had 376 people check into the restaurant 622 times.
Someone new to the area could drive into a town, open the Foursquare application on their mobile device, and tap the nearby button to find what is close to the current location, including hotels, things to do, and in the Bullfrog Brewery's case, restaurants.
"People can rate their experiences (at the places they check into)," Odell-Zimmerman said.
Comments on the Bullfrog Brewery's foursquare include "Funk burger is HUGE," "Their homemade root beer is the best," and "The vegan/vegetarian menu has improved vastly! Lots of options now, great job bullfrog!"
For Odell-Zimmerman, the comments are helpful because people who are looking for vegetarian options can see that the restaurant offers some.
A benefit of "checking in" to places is that one who frequently does can become a mayor.
"A mayor is someone who checks in at a certain site the most in a period of time," Odell-Zimmerman said. "It does change frequently. The person might not be local. They could be staying in Genetti (Hotel)."
In the future, Odell-Zimmerman wants to have giveaways for "mayors" as a way to interest more people into checking into the restaurant.
Another opportunity Foursquare offers is making lists.
Odell-Zimmerman described lists as "like a bucket list."
Users can make lists of places to recommend to their friends. Bullfrog Brewery appears in one list called "Top Picks for Breweries."