Every tech start-up and especially 2.0 start-up should practice what they preach. Meaning: if you market and sell 2.0 products you should be an enterprise 2.0 yourself. A small enterprise but still ;-)

So here you are – social networking and Web 2.0 “Best Practices” for the enterprise based on biznes.net offerings:

1. Improving collaboration among workers, project groups and departments

1.1. Utilizing the networks of contacts – corporate and private – to achieve corporate goals. Social networking is a tool of achieving business goals with support of FOAF (friend-of-a-friend) known also as six-degrees-of-separation phenomenon. You can look for customers, emploees and partners anywhere or you could ask friends for introductions. Old-school method is to go through business cards, make some calls and ask questions which is time consuming and possibly annoying when done very often. Nowadays you can browse through your friends’ contacts, do a pre-selection of promising leads and send messages or call the right people saving your and your friends time. Social networking may be especially helpful in multinational corporations where cross-corporate connectivity is important.

1.2. Corporate knowledge management – it is almost impossible to put all of corporate know-how into writing, so the only way to maintain corporate memory is to document relationships with key people with social networking software. People come and go but as long as they can be reached they can be asked for valuable project or deal details. Expert knowlegde is very rarly well documented so ability to find the right people across the multinational organization fast (ASAP) is what social networking may help with.

2. Improving office-productivity and time-efficiency away from the office

2.1. More meetings with the right people – conferences and seminars are great to do business with many people in one day as long as there is a plan and an agreement on the subject of the conversation. Many social networking websites provide a calendar of events with a list of confirmed participants. If the event fits their interests users confirm their participation with a short comment and make their business profiles available to others. Browsing through participant profiles may be followed by sending messages with individual meeting proposals at the event. Exchanging messages before the event helps to narrow down the topics to be discussed and saves time during the event enabling users to arrange more meetings in one day.

2.2. E-mail bankruptcy or E-mail 2.0 – not all e-mail messages were created equal but they clog our incoming boxes equally well. Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist from New York, declared e-mail bankruptcy because he was so far behind on email. “If you’ve sent me an email (and you aren’t my wife, partner, or colleague), you might want to send it again. I am starting over.” – he wrote on his blog. Once a killer-app and huge productivity booster over the years e-mail became an irritant and productivity killer – not mentioning incoming e-mail addiction problem. Social networking provides a reputation-based messaging solution where sender identity, reputation, background and network of contacts is well documented. This enables recipients to quickly evaluate which messages are worth the time and effort. Sending messages is not free so mass-spamming is not profitable and therefore non existent.

2.3. Getting things done – is all about managing projects, to-do lists, setting priorities and focusing only on next actions instead of all that needs to be done. Applications supporting that kind of work style are being integrated with social networking portals adding productivity tools to the social context of groups working together. “Getting Things DoneÂŽ” is the work-life management system and book by David Allen that transforms personal overwhelm and overload into an integrated system of less-stress productivity.

3. Relationship Marketing through corporate and private blogs

3.1. Official corporate blogs or product blogs – such blogs are a sign of the times in which marketing has evolved from mass marketing towards relationship marketing. Creating individual relationships with the most active customers – most aware and outspoken influencers and trendsetters – is the key to building trust or confidence in the provider along with a sense of reduced anxiety and comfort in knowing what to expect. Blog readers develop a sense of familiarity and even a social relationship with their service or product providers. In practice, relationship marketing originated in industrial and B2B markets where long-term contracts have been quite common for many years. As internet became an interactive mass-medium individual customers are demanding the same level of care and personal relationships – especially from providers of relatively high value consumer products, when switching costs are high, when customers involvement in shaping products and services is high. Social networking websites for professionals are environments where corporate and product blogs may initiate free word of mouth promotions and referrals which are simply priceless.

3.2. Grassroots corporate blogs – corporate marketing departments do not have a monopoly on blogging about their companies. Sometimes to their surprise company workers spontaniously start blogging about corporate life, products and customers. Some of these blogs gain corporate support and become an important element of corporate culture – within new company policies on blogging and disclosing documents, procedures and other kinds of information.

3.3. Project group blogs – small teams and project groups discover new tools of tracking their progress, stimulating discussion, documenting know-how and brainstorming sessions. Tools of conducting every day business like blogs and wikis are becoming a valuable addition to corporate culture.

3.4. Market research blogs – discussion forums have always been a pool of valuable consumer generated data. Blogs enable marketing and R&D departments to stimulate more structured discussion and ask questions directly.

Some quotes (from News.com):

“Adoption of blogs, wikis and social software within business applications is in its early days but I see potential for them to take hold slowly.” said Andrew McAfee, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School, said at the Collaborative Technology Conference last week.

In the past when it came to adopting new technology, corporations were on the leading edge and consumers were underserved. That’s all turned around now, said Rajen Sheth, product manager at Google Enterprise.

“The currency is different in consumer applications. Individual consumers want to save time and be more productive. In business, you’re trying to make a group more productive,” said Christian Heidelberger, CEO of Nexaweb Technologies.

These Web 2.0 technologies won’t necessarily replace complicated and more structured content or document management systems, analysts said.

But new Web standard products could push people to stop using e-mail to share documents and instead collaborate through shared workspaces like wikis.

Allowing employees to share information through blogs or mashups with outside Web services poses significant security challenges for corporate customers, analysts said.

Promoting ad hoc collaboration and multiple modes of communication can be beneficial, but employees need policies and IT administrators need tools to govern those policies, said John Crupi, CTO of JackBe

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