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Social Networking for Business

"The growing number of companies offering private-label social network solutions, as well as IBM's recent entry into the field with its Lotus Connections social software platform for business, is a sure sign of increased demand. Other companies, like LinkedIn and Ryze, have social networking at the core of product offerings that generate revenue by bringing offline business networking practices into the online world. And corporations are continuing to incorporate advertising on affinity networks in their campaigns to reach highly targeted audiences with measurable response rates.

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Corporate Blogging

But companies aren't replicating the free-flowing exchange that has been a hallmark of the broader blogosphere. Rather, companies are trying to harness that freedom and conform it to business needs, with forward-thinking companies using strategic planning and formal policies to shape the use of blogs and other Web 2.0 tools to drive more communication and collaboration among workers.

Bringing on the blogs

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Exclusive social networks

"A NEW fad is sweeping across Silicon Valley, causing excitement, confusion and hyperbole not seen since the dotcom bubble. It began in May, when Mark Zuckerberg, ten days after turning 23, took the stage in a San Francisco warehouse and announced that he was opening up Facebook to outside programmers. Anyone can now build little programs, or - widgets, into the network. To illustrate his idea, Mr Zuckerberg projected onto the wall behind him a social graphic pattern of nodes representing Facebook users and the links among them.

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Enterprise web 2.0 services

"McAfee said he first realized the potential of Web 2.0 technologies to become an Enterprise 2.0 platform while studying more traditional corporate software applications including ERP, BPM, supply chain management and customer relationship management (CRM). At first, he was skeptical about the value of Web 2.0 for business, but hands-on experience convinced him that it had potential.

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Corporate social networks

With business social networking software - managers and employees now have a system for connecting informal interactions and discovering new information flows.

So, stop reading about social applications and collaboration tools. Unleash your imagination and start experimenting. The real power of social software can only be appreciated with hands-on experience. Consider a pilot project.

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Facebook mashups and marketing

"Comparing Wal-Mart and Target on Facebook", from Emergence Marketing.

"Target has over 7,000 members and mostly positive comments in a vibrant set of discussions. The Wal-Mart group on the other hand has a little over 1,200 members, no discussions are allowed, and the wall postings are mostly negative."

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CRM and Social Networking

Business managers need to take notice of the social web. With social software applications - social networking and community solutions combined with CRM, managers and employees can improve customer support and value while improving productivity.

Snagged this article and images from Selvas Cano, "Online Communities / Social Networking and CRM

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