As I've blogged about before, I see enterprise social networking as encompassing four quadrants. As I detail in that post, and will be expanding upon in future posts, there are myriad opportunities for companies leveraging one or more elements of enterprise social networking. Public social media sites offer the ability to interface with customers "where they are," to monitor what's being said about your brand on those sites, and to incorporate those channels into your organization's overall communications strategy.
Social CRM allows businesses to pull data from public social media spaces into their CRM and to use that data to augment existing customer information, gain business intelligence, and drive leads. Social software in the workplace offers great potential with regards to improving internal collaboration and communication. And externally-facing social software enables businesses to combine the benefits of public social media sites and social software to allow customers to connect with each other, help each other, and engage directly with your brand in an owned environment.
Another element not listed in the quadrant I mention above is not a platform, but rather something that arches over all of a business's social efforts: culture. That is to say that in order to reap the benefits of enterprise social networking, a company's culture needs to evolve away from the traditional command and control way of doing business, as that mentality is at odds with these new collaborative platforms and technologies. It's one thing to launch these platforms, or establish a company presence on a public platform, but it's another to be able to effectively integrate them into all aspects of a business's overall operations. In order for a business to effectively deploy social networking across the enterprise, the business must, itself, become social as well.
What does this mean, exactly? Much smart commentary has already been written about the cultural changes necessary for a business to become "social," so rather than reinvent the wheel, here are some posts and resources that get into detail and provide a great framework for the topic:
I'm sure I missed a ton of other great posts, books, articles and other resources - please feel free to add more in the comments. This is a topic that I'll definitely be exploring more in future posts, so be sure to subscribe or follow via email (on right sidebar) if this is a topic that interests you.