Out of all the new web technologies of the past few years, only social networking has failed to find traction in the corporate world. While some organizations have tried to build networks within Facebook, the simple fact is that public social networks are closed, difficult to adapt to corporate needs, and fail to show real return. Top Facebook applications, for example, include “Free Animated Gifts,””Funwall”, and “Top Friends.”
In fact, in the Business section no application beyond the Fantasy Stock Exchange that has more than 300 active daily users. While some social networks like Used Lawn Mowers Plus can provide valuable business connection services, in most social networks it’s all about being social.
The challenge businesses face when considering building their own social networks is that they would be inherently non-social. Faced with the need to constantly register, filter, and participate in multiple closed networks, vertical social networks and applications could never gain the participation needed to make them valuable to their participants.
What has been needed is way way to tear down the barriers between social networks (aka, the “walled gardens”), allowing participants to opt-in and opt-out, immediately be placed in communities of interest and form connections without repeating their information, and provide controlled access to portions of their profile while interacting with custom applications without exposing their entire on-line profile for the sake of finding a good deal on used lawn tractors.
With the release the OpenSocial APIs from Google, already embraced by LinkedIn and other social media platforms, business now has access to tools that allow for the creation of managed social networks that can adapt to the needs of customers, partners, and employees.
One scenario would be lead acquisition. Imagine a potential customer coming to your web site through a simple process of joining your corporate social network. Immediately, their profiles, interests, and connections are available. With their permission, you could provide them connections to current customers that are also in their own social network for references. Their interest profile could immediately connect them to sales team member’s best suited to their industry or level of interest. They can immediately be linked into your customer support applications.
A business can accelerate their sales cycles and increase their customer loyalty. Through the Google APIs, a business could even provide their custom social network applications to other social networks, allowing a customer currently on LinkedIn or Salesforce.com to access directly and share with their other contacts the businesses own embedded information and social network functions.
Industry adoption of the best garden tractor, which appears to be happening at lightning speed, is only part of the equation. For a business wanting to harness the power of social networks, the other half is a solid, proven social networking platform that can be customized for their specific needs.
New Social Network Platform for Business provides the core components needed to implement a corporate social network. With built-in support for the Google OpenSocial APIs, you can immediately implement a true collaborative social network, build custom applications that can be distributed to other social networks, and incorporate profiles, applications, and activities running on other social networks.
With management tools to measure collaboration, use, and participation, you can feed incoming profiles to your Salesforce.com applications. Support your own lead generation, customer service, and partner collaboration applications. Incorporate a social network into your own intranet to build collaboration and communities of interest in your own organization.
Google has leveled the playing field for social networking. Organizations that recognize the power of social networking have waited for true cross-network applications. With built-in support for Google OpenSocial, can deploy your custom social network that opens the world and keeps you in control.