Social Networking Watch

by Vicky Frank

In the same week (last week) that I’ve had people tell me that no one in the business world uses social media, two bastions of corporate conservatism featured articles about how corporations are engaging social networking for business purposes.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has been reporting the trend for some time (e.g., see “Social Networking Goes Professional” August 28, 2007), but this Tuesday, they published “The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500” describing why management is being changed by social networking tools.

And just last Friday, Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) weighed in with “Social Networking is Fast Migrating to Business World” (March 20, 2009), in which they report: “More companies now are adopting social networking tools to help streamline collaboration among employees, customers and partners.”

Here are excerpts from these and other recent articles about how large corporations are using social media tools.

Social Networking is Fast Migrating to Business World (IBD, March 20, 2009)
Nike, EMC, and Con-Agra Foods are using social media tools for employee collaboration, online marketing, product development and support services.

SAP has invested $22.7 million in LinkedIn, a popular social network for business contacts.

BusinessWeek magazine has tied its Web site to content from LinkedIn. When visitors move their cursor over companies named in certain stories, the reader’s LinkedIn contacts at those firms appear.

Nike+ Men Vs. Women (Contagious, March 3, 2009)
Nike is recruiting contestants for a European campaign using email and Facebook. 10,000 men and women have signed up to the challenge even before the launch of TV, print and online media. 2,002 women and 1,075 men and have also joined their team Facebook fan pages.

General Motors public relations exec Tom Wickham uses online tools to spread good news about automaker (, March 20, 2009)
According to General Motors‘ manager of executive communication, Tom Wickham, “We’re so deep into social media, we have our own team specializing in this.”

Business Week Jumps on Twitter Bandwagon (WSJ, March 23, 2009)
Business Week is syncing the comments on its social-networking site, Business Exchange, to Twitter, making it among the first major media companies to harness the popularity of the microblogging service.

Twitter As a Learning Tool, Really (ASTD, March 2009)
Southwest Airlines tweets first-time customers with the message, “Hope you enjoyed your first-ever Southwest flight! Can’t wait to see you onboard again.” Offers Twitter Customer Service App (Information Week, March, 23, 2009) announced it is adding Twitter to its CRM application to help companies find and assist customers who are more likely to look to the Twitter community to solve product problems than to call customer service.

Fortune 500 series: Texas Instruments uses social media to connect 10K+ engineers  (ZDNET, March 25, 2009)
Texas Instruments uses social media to engage with its large community of design engineers and deliver customer design support.

J&J and Social Media - How’d They Do It? A Conversation with J&J (Eye on FDA, February 4, 2009)
Johnson & Johnson has over 90 videos dedicated to patient education on its YouTube channel. They have multiple Facebook pages geared to special audiences, consumer products, and conditions. And their corporate blog, JNJBTW, was begun with the simple question that serves as a premise - Everyone else is talking about our company, so why can’t we? 

For more examples from Adobe, Cisco, Coca Cola, DellJeep, McDonalds, and more, see these examples from Mashable, the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Networking news:
35+ Examples of Corporate Social Media in Action

And a special shout-out to those who think no one is using Twitter:

Nielsen:  Twitter’s growing really, really, really, really fast (CNET, March 19, 2009)
Twitter has grown a phenomenal 1,382% from February 2008 to February 2009, expanding its user base from 475,000 members to over 7 million members. These numbers do not include mobile phone or text messaging “tweeters.” In January, 812,000 users accessed Twitter via text message using AT&T and Verizon alone.

10 Ways Newspapers are Using Social Media to Save the Industry (Mashable, March 11, 2009)
The New York Times’ Twitter feed leads the mainstream newspaper pack with over 420,000 followers, followed by the Wall Street Journal (26,000+), the Chicago Tribune (7,000+), and the Washington Post (4,800+). See what other social media tactics newspapers are using to stay afloat.


4 Ways Companies Use Twitter for Business (ReadWriteWeb, March 26, 2009)
Gartner released a report today that highlights the different ways that companies are adopting Twitter for business use. This article also provides 16 Examples of Huge Brands Using Twitter for Business and 40 of the Best Twitter Brands and the People Behind Them.

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