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Categorized | Social Media

How do corporations use social networking?

Posted on 30 August 2008 by Russ

By now all the big corporations have realized the huge potential in social networking, and advertising on various social networks. A while ago, I wrote about why businesses large and small should utilize social media and especially blogs. However, I was recently asked why small businesses should devote time and energy to social networking, if corporations do not fully utilize the marketing opportunity. Honestly I had to stall a bit and say, “Uh sure big companies use social networking.” It led me to the ultimate question of How do corporations use social networking?

There is a difference between using FaceBook or MySpace to connect with people and simply purchasing advertisements on these networks. A lot of major corporations do purchase the advertisements, but I was curious to see how well certain corporations were actually using various social media outlets to connect with customers. I decided to sample the top dogs from several different industries. I chose GM, Dell, and Nordstrom for the first sample. I first checked on several key indicators to see if they had blogs and how frequently they were updating them, if they were on Digg, and Del.icio.us and Twitter. I also checked to see if they had MySpace or FaceBook profiles. Although there are only the “top” social media sites, they were a good indicator of who was using what, and how. Here is what I found:

GM uses several blogs, primarily at GM Blogs and GM Next. They also have several Facebook groups supporting individual vehicles and vehicle classes. They also got major points for using Twitter frequently as 38 Del.icio.us bookmarks. I had to dock them a point or two though because they did not seem to have any Digg’s. Overall, GM is utilizing social networking quite well.

Dell also utilizes blogs, far and above the rest. At Direct 2 Dell they actually encourage people to start their own technology blogs. Of course this helps dell generate a ton of good content and free press. Overall I am quite impressed with Dells grasp of the power of blogging. Another key indicator that Dell is actively using social sites it doing a Twitter search for Dell, may of the dell employees have twitter accounts ending with “atdell” which is pretty cool. Dell also seemed to be using Facebook and MySpace, however not to the level I expected them to. They seem to be simply maintaining the status quo in this area. They had no del.icio.us bookmarks and about 22 Digg’s. Lower than I expected.

Last I chose Nordstorm. I was not expecting much, since they are not Tech related, nor do they seem to do a lot of heavy advertising (at least here in the south). They do have a blog called From the Floor which I must say is quite well done and seems to be getting a ton of traffic, its in the top 1,500 of Alexa traffic. They seem to have a lot of Inbound links, which is not too surprising considering how well their pages are written and the awesome photography they use. I was surprised to find nothing for them on FaceBook or MySpace, and was very surprised that they have a Twitter page, however it has no tweets.

So, how can you beat these giants at the Social marketing game? It may be tough unless you yourself are a large corporation with a lot of weight to throw around. However, you can appear to by consistently utilizing these services. If you do not know what to do here is the list. Get a blog first of all, and not at blogspot or wordpress, get your own URL! Then get a Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook and MySpace account. Start blogging regularly. Integrate your Twitter feed, FaceBook Updates and links to your Myspace and LinkedIn profiles on your blog. Invite all your colleagues, customers and associates to connect on LinkedIn, FaceBook and MySpace, create groups on all of these accounts for your customers. Then make sure that your contact info is accessible on all of the above. By the way, I can help you with any of this if you have any questions.

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67 Comments For This Post

  1. Adam Denison Says:

    Thanks for the mention of GM. I should point out, however, that GM has not created any groups on Facebook. We’d rather join the conversation there. I think it adds more credibility than something we’d create.

    Adam Denison
    GM Social Media Communications

  2. Freddie Laker Says:

    Good post.

    All of this withstanding the biggest problem I’m having these days is to get my clients to understand the important of social media in terms of brand building. They still think it’s some kind of novelty that teens are into. I’ve been trying to get people to understand that social media sites are having a huge influence not only in the conversations people are having about a brand, but also on the search results that are coming up.

    I recently wrote a post about the tools that people are using to monitor the online space and that clients are still hung up in web analaytics to judge their brands health in the online space, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on it. E-mail me some time!

    -Freddie
    Digital Strategist / TakeMeToYourLeader.com

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    I’ve been hearing so much about social networks for business but I’ve found it all to be a bit over my head. It’s certainly interesting though.

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  15. Rogue Skill Says:

    Thanks for sharing.

    I see a lot of companies that think they have to participate in the social web and actually copy their corporate language 1:1 into their Twitter/whatever stream.

    Please, talk to me as if I was a human being and not another company! ;)

  16. Grekk Says:

    “I decided to sample the top dogs from several different industries.”
    Can more?

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    Yes, most of the information is very relevant to the topic but I would have like to have seen more focus on how companies are in immersing themselves in social media more now than ever before and perhaps some thought on the policies needed to have an effective social media strategy/implementation. As risks in social media used by corporations is a major issue.

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