Social networking or social media is heading towards a more business friendly environment. The bigger social media sites were generated with the individual in mind. The features of the current social media networks may not only be ineffective for businesses but also detrimental to developing strong business contacts. These social networks may cause businesses to lose money because they may be too open for businesses to use for everyday business.
A business networking system must be close ended. For a business social network to be effective, it must be like a real Rolodex. When a business meets another business for the first time, they do not want to show off their whole Rolodex on the first meeting. Unfortunately, this is how most of the bigger social networks have built their platform.
Most of the users can see each other in their “friends” and “followers” areas. This can cause some businesses to lose their competitive advantage based on the relationship they have with another one of their business associates. For example, a business may have spent months searching for a wholesale distributor of a certain product. This distributor may be delivering that product at an unbelievable discount that the business can use to generate a great amount of revenue. It would not make sense for a business to reveal who that distributor is to everyone they meet. However, this is exactly what happens in most social networking sites. The full contact, “friends,” and “followers” list is revealed to anyone who becomes a friend or follower of a business.
Generally, any update that any person makes on the regular social media networking systems will push down the updates from any other user (this includes other business entities and potential consumers). This fact alone can mean that a business may miss an important piece of information from a vendor or even a client who wants to make a buying decision. Any information by any person can and will be pushed down by any update in the major social media networks and this is a massive problem for businesses. A business needs a clean social network where contacts cannot see each other unless designated by the business and the stream of communication can be controlled to the point where only pertinent information is seen by the business and not mixed with personal information from personal contacts.
A business owner will likely own more than one business. This means that having one social media or social network profile is not an option for most businesses. Every business needs to be treated as a separate business and have its own profile. This allows a business to avoid a phenomenon called “piercing of the corporate veil” where a business is legally associated to each other by not properly maintaining the borders between two or more businesses. This means more assets can be at stake when a company has legal troubles. Having separate accounts for social media can be very useful for this boundary between businesses and avoids future problems that have to do with litigation.
In the future, social networks will be created with business use in mind and personal use as an afterthought. This change will allow businesses to make better use of the social media systems and allow them to have different profiles and keep contacts from seeing each other on the systems. These businesses will be better prepared for developing contacts through the internet and create a global marketplace that is better suited for the needs of business owners everywhere.