How has social media changed the way private companies operate? For one thing, it's becoming a lot easier to interact with your peers, both online and off.

That was the underlying message at a gathering of several dozen New York area business owners and executives at 7 World Trade Center Wednesday night, a group brought together by IncBizNet.

The event featured a panel of PR and branding experts offering insight into successful Web marketing strategies, whether by outranking your competition on Google or creating buzz in the blogosphere.

That the event itself was a real-world extension of a fast-growing virtual business-to-business network wasn't lost on the panelists.

Like branding expert Spike Jones said, gone are the days of simple advertising campaigns, press releases and product launches. These days you have to be part of a movement.

So, is your company part of a movement?