Developing social networks for a particular audience â€śusually starts with a few employees with an idea, and we let them run with it, which is better than talking about it for months,â€ť Carrigan said during a panel titled â€śB2B Social Networking: Content Provider Strategies.â€ť
The panel addressed the surge in social networks and the potential stumbling blocks in making them available to constituents.
â€śYou have to make sure youâ€™re connecting [the networks] to work flow and maintain standards of privacy,â€ť said David Mather, president of business information provider Hooverâ€™s, which on Wednesday debuted Hooverâ€™s Connect, a business networking tool that helps users get introduced to and establish relationships with targeted prospects.
â€śOnce you provide security, users are willing to use new forms of media,â€ť Mather said. â€śThink of the knowledge that can be unleashed in a corporate network and the wealth of that knowledge given to a sales force.â€ť
Clara Shih, product line manager for the AppExchange Directory of Salesforce.com, said there are three main areas companies need to invest in if they want to develop social networks: content partners, online communities and networking systems designed for users to conduct business transactions.
Shih also stressed that companies have to factor in ROI when building social networks. â€śItâ€™s end-to-end prospecting,â€ť she said. â€śAll the way through the close, and you need to calculate how much spending there is throughout the sales cycle and how much information can be captured.â€ť