by December 1, 2010 0 comments

Shikhar Mohan Gupta

It’s a commonly known fact today that social networking has moved beyond being a mere pastime for youngsters into a potential communication tool for corporates. But how can a business really benefit from it is still nothing short of a mystery for most organizations. So in this article, we’re going to try and resolve that mystery with a few examples.

As the name suggests, social networking aims to facilitate communication. This could happen amongst your internal employees or with the rest of the world. So while the former could be used to improve coordination and interactions amongst various groups in your organization, the latter can be used to connect with the external world-to find the right people for your organization, market your products, or even find vendors and suppliers.

It works by inviting a few friends and colleagues to be part of an “inner circle” of business or personal associates, and then use the system to seek “friends of friends” or business contacts of your associates. If done correctly, this inner circle of contacts expands as individuals are contacted directly or as introductions are made by mutual friends and associates. The other good thing you can do is to have all your employees in a social networking environment. This promotes a cordial environment amongst all, and can help achieve better coordination and collaboration amongst teams.

You can do social networking in three ways-either by using public sites or deploying your own ‘private’ social network, or both. Public social networking sites are pretty well known-LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They’re free for everyone to use, don’t require any inhouse deployment or management of any software. These networks can be accessed everywhere through a browser and network connection. Most networks are also available through mobile widgets these days which lets one access them, in a curtailed format optimized for the mobile experience. There is also an option of using a network like Yammer which can be considered as a private network within a public network. In such cases the employee has to have an email using a company domain to be able to log on to the private network of the company on the main network.

A privately social networking site on the other hand is meant for your internal use.You need to setup your own IT infrastructure for it, require the manpower to manage it, etc. Even if all that’s available, the most crucial requirement for the success of a private social networking site is content. You need to continuously keep doing something on the site to keep the interest of all the employees alive. Otherwise, there will be an initial excitement wherein employees would share each other’s contacts, do a bit of interaction, and then forget about it. So, make sure you have a well-planned strategy on what you’re going to do on a private social networking site and how would it benefit your business.
To understand how an organization can benefit from public and private social networking sites, read the stories below.

Facebook or LinkedIn Groups?

Open Source Social Networking Packages

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