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Are Social Networks Working for Businesses?

Are Social Networks Working for Businesses?

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From Andre Yee, who's latest Blog is Google Will Change the Way We Use Twitter: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin -- we know social networks get their fair share of hype and more but are they actually providing any true business value?

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  • We've recently started using Twitter (twitter.com/ebizQ) at ebizQ to promote and market content (news, features articles, this forum, etc.). The hope is that our users will head over to the webinar when I tweet what's happening live on our webinars. During our Cloud QCamp virtual conference, there was quite a buzz on Twitter as I tweeted live during the event AND for the first time ever, attendance increased as the show progressed. So the bottom line is, it definitely helps drive the buzz.

  • community, collaboration and communication...we see the use these key features of social networks in various enterprise situations. A few examples...Twitter is being used by large enterprises to gauge end-user sentiment on products/services; linkedin is being used by enterprises in recruiting and in finding independent views on problems/issues....so there are many other such examples. Social Media Marketing is becoming more of a norm in on-line markeiting mix of enterprise marketing more than ever...we have our company profile on facebook, linkedin. Not sure if we are getting any leads yet!!

  • Stan makes a great point about the value search will add to twitter.

    Whether this will make it (more) valuable to business is still an open question. In meetings with customers and prospects twitter is not a hot topic – but using social networks like LinkedIn has really advanced the process of building long term relationships with customers and partners. Customers buy from vendors who have demonstrated success, even when the customer moves to a new company or industry. Social networks make customer relationships portable and durable at a time where there is a continued drive to less travel and fewer face to face meetings.

  • Depends on how those social networks are used. Many companies are wrestling with how best to leverage these sorts of communication & collaboration vehicles, while others (such as HP and Google) have found ways to make it explode. Lehigh University recently published a great white paper entitled “Migrating to Agility 2.0: Social Computing Enables Organization Growth and Innovation? that details the pitfalls as well as the opportunities in this space. And, fortunately, the work is published under a Creative Commons license at http://agility.cse.lehigh.edu/whitepaper/forward%20and%20table%20of%20contents.pdf

  • I've humorously described social media as the shiny new toy of 2009. But there's no doubt that companies of all sizes are leveraging social networks in their marketing strategy this year.

    Minimally, they are using it as a listening channel. Some are using it as promotional channel (as Jessica described in her comment). Even fewer are successfully using it as a demand generation channel.

    I think most companies are still trying to figure this whole thing out - what works, what doesn't and how to measure the value

  • Assessing the business value of Web 2.0 is similar to assessing the business value of an analytical (OLAP) database in that the real value of an OLAP is not in the database itself but rather in the "knowledge" gained by analyzing the "patterns" of data within the database. Web 2.0 is the philosophy and associated web-based tools (such as twitter, linkedin, facebook, myspace, orkut, etc.) of creating a more "personalized", "humanizing" web experience. Just as in the case of an OLAP database, the real business value of Web 2.0 is neither in the philosophy nor in the toolset but in the "relationships" and personal information captured about the users that was previously unavailable in Web 1.0. Companies across the world are burning midnight oil trying to decode all of this new data about online relationships hoping to strike gold with profitable insights. Companies such as Facebook have grandiose visions about changing the way people interact over the web and even displacing Google as the "search engine" of choice. Decoding these online relationships in the sea of data within the depths of Web 2.0 could be just the keys needed to unlock unheard of riches!

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