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Business and Social Networking

An area with huge growth potential is the use of social networks and/or social networking techniques for business whether it is for improving communications, for marketing or by deriving business intelligence. There are now many different solutions in the market for “Social Business Solutions” and large IT companies and consulting forms are starting to create new departments in this area.

Businesses are slowly coming to the realisation that traditional communication methods are often less effective than social networking.

Social Businesses

Intra company relations: The enterprise can be considered as a dedicated social network and all of the employees as members. In a social network the relationship between members is flat rather than hierarchal. Th is flat relationship between employees can foster collaboration, brain-storming and creativity.

“Social CRM”: Just as with intra company relations, a more informal hierarchy can allow companies to work together in a more collaborative way.

Blogging: Blogging can be a very direct, and interactive, way for companies to relate to their customers, clients, shareholders, providers, etc. It is much more immediate and personal way to transmit news and information and to get feedback directly from the recipient.

Viral marketing (basically driven through social networks). In the last few years viral advertising has taken on a fundamental role in the marketing campaigns of many companies. An ad, new product or news item is directed to key persons who the company knows or suspects have an important social position on the net and especially within social networks. These persons pass on the ad or information to their contacts rapidly, if the key person has been chosen adequately it can soon reach thousands or even millions of people.

Social Analytic tools

The technique of data analysis of the communications in social communications (often referred to as the “social graph”) is an extremely powerful tool for business. For example, analysis of relations and communications between members of a group or a community can show which are the most important ones (socially). This information can be vital when a viral marketing plan is being formulated or when a loyalty scheme is going to be implanted amongst a company’s customers.

A great market has been opened to both the clients of the data analysis and to the researchers and developers of new solutions for the data analysis. Argyle Social, Trackur and Radian6 are some of the examples of commercial tools which are used to analyse the data coming from social networks, profi le the users and personalise the marketing strategies.

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