You have GOT to be kidding. Who wants their customers to see their prom pictures?
Well, no one, I’m thinking. Should I be concerned that I used to have braces and a mullet?
I digress. But that’s not what people mean when they talk about Social Networking for Business. I have been struggling for a few years to really understand how Social Networking fits in and I’m not going to suggest by any means that I’ve figured it out.
So I was reading a book called “Eat People” by Andy Kessler a few months ago and he described Mark Zuckerburg’s vision for Facebook. He relayed a story where Mark had not studied for an art history class, or even been to class, and decided to create a facebook-like page as a “study guide”.
He sent a link of the “study guide” to all the students and asked them to make comments on certain pieces of art, etc. Long story, short: Mark got an A in the class, but even more interesting is that the entire class had the highest total score of any class for that subject.
Why did this happen? Well, Kessler goes on to say that what Mark was trying to create was a way to “absorb” what was happening with the art pictures. Rather than reading a text book, the web interface he built made it easy for people to absorb or consume what was relevant and important.
This is one of the ideas that’s core to Facebook. It’s easy to absorb what’s happening with your 600 closest friends. So does that mean everyone should have a business Facebook page?
That’s not the point I’m trying to make. What I think is now more possible with tools like Facebook, but not necessarily Facebook, is using the power of collaboration in a way that makes it easy for people to “absorb” what’s happening in their business with customers, employees, vendors, etc.
In the enterprise software world I play in that’s Salesforce’s Chatter. We are just beginning to see how our clients are using Chatter to collaborate more seamlessly and with less effort. It’s exciting to see a simple idea provide some real value.
We have recently created a very simple tool that leverages Chatter that allows our clients to improve their internal request process for changes in Salesforce. This includes basic things like adding fields, data, customizations, etc.
We call this Request/Release and have essentially taken an AGILE development concept and combined it with Chatter to enable our customers to collaborate better internally and enable us to contribute as well. This accelerates the speed at which we identify and enhance new ideas and include a larger group of people without the complexity of large groups. It’s a form of crowd sourcing for internal requests that improves the quality of ideas our clients generate and accelerates the implementation of these ideas.
By the way, it’s free!!
I’ll continue to blog on this as we enhance it further. Please check back for new updates.
Thank you for reading this. I hope it gives you some ideas!