When you think that out of the 6,845,609,960 people in the world, 1,966,514,816 people make up the global online population and use the internet regularly, the internet reaches a lot of people. Social member communities are visited by 67% of the global online population according to Neilsen online. That is a ridiculous amount of people. So it is only natural that businesses should want to harness the benefits of reaching such a wide audience that utilising social networks can bring.
How are corporations actually using social networking?
Some corporations are using social netorking tools such as Facebook and micro blogging tool Twitter for promotion and advertisement. The companies make an official company profile on these sites, add as many ‘friends’ as possible on the sites and then shamelessly plug their products. An example of this companies such as;
These are just five examples, if you log onto any social networking site you will see many corporations that have accounts in order to promote their products. Some corporations also use social networking sites to gather public opinion, or to harness the collective intelligence of consumers.
Dell is an awesome example of this, with their ideastorm site. The website is a wiki forum where consumers can post their ideas to Dell on how to improve their products and ideas for new products. This is then integrated with Facebook so that consumers can directly re-post their wiki post to Facebook and let all their friends know. This is extremely cleaver yet subtle advertising. By letting consumers have their say, and show their friends on social networks, it is the most powerful form of advertising – Word of Mouth.
A friend of mine works at a real estate agent, and as part of his job he has to have a ‘professional Facebook page’ were his picture is a professional photo of him in his uniform and he must post on his wall new house for sale and properties he has just sold, as well as add clients to his Facebook friends list. This is a more personal take on the advertising front, but still effective
Social networks can also be used by corporations internally as a means of communication between employees. Please see my blog – The benefits and Risks of Enterprise 2.0 for a case study on how Epitaph is using the private corporate social network ‘SocialText’ for internal corporate social networking.
Social networks may also be used by corporations in order to ‘scout’ and recruit new employees. Particulary on LinkedIn but also on Facebook. Many corporations will not hire an employee without scoping out the potential employees web profile, this eliminates a lot of mucking around in the hiring process. The flipside of this is employees need to watch what they post online, as it can social networking can also facilitate the firing process.
So what are the benefits of corporations using social networking?
- In 2010, Social networking is a very viable part of any business, large or small. It is almost required that an online business have some type of connection in the social networking realm in order to avoid falling into the abyss
- It by far is one of the few, almost guaranteed methods to grow and maintain a successful business online
- Advertising! Social network presence is an excellent form of advertising, plus it’s free!
- Do it yourself. Especially for a small business, they do not need to have extra knowledge and skills to carry out social networking for the business. It can all be learnt easily. The whole process is simple and easy.
And the pitfalls?
- Online presence means instant feedback from consumers, not all feedback is good
- A poor online profile can be a hindrance to a business’s image
- If not updated frequently a company can look slack and out of touch
In my personal experience social networking can be a great thing. It is easy to keep in touch with old school friends, friends overseas and make plans with friends. It makes it very easy to create events and send invites to things like birthday parties and weekend drinks. Facebook is also good for collaboration with Uni colleagues at times, to let them know about group assignment progress and such, as most people check there Facebook page daily.
Check out this video for further information!