… Insightful research findings. Social networks are inevitable for today successful businesses. CMO’s have to stratgically focus their efforts towards best utilization of such huge freely-offered customers feedback. It generates lots of ideas on how to improve products and services. Executives have to learn how to listen. Evantually; this leads to higher market penetration as a result of better understanding. – Mouaz.

“If the ongoing social networking revolution has you scratching your head and asking, “Why do people spend time on this?” and “How can my company benefit from the social network revolution?” you’ve got a lot in common with Harvard Business School professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski.

Only difference: Piskorski has spent years studying users of online social networks (SN) and has developed surprising findings about the needs that they fulfill, how men and women use these services differently, and how Twitter—the newest kid on the block—is sharply different from forerunners such as Facebook and MySpace. He has also applied many of the insights to help companies develop strategies for leveraging these various online entities for profit.

Addressing network failures

“Online social networks are most useful when they address real failures in the operation of offline networks,” says Piskorski.

They can address some basic search failures: “It’s hard to know what my friends are up to, but online I can catch up with them quickly.” But they can also fix bigger search shortcomings, such as those related to establishing new relationships.

“If I am looking for someone who can help me with my start up, I would ask my friends if they know such a person, and if they don’t, I would ask them to inquire with their friends. The problem is that those friends of friends don’t always have an incentive to help, so they won’t work on my behalf. But here is where LinkedIn comes in handy—there I can go and search through the network of my friends of friends and find the person I am looking for.”

Online social networks also can improve people’s ability to use offline social networks as “covers.” This is very salient on LinkedIn. There, people display a lot of information about their careers, which makes them available to headhunters and other employers as passive candidates. But they also establish relationships with others to stay in touch with peers and to make new contacts. This network allows them to establish plausible deniability that they are not looking for a job, even if they are.”

… Read the full research at: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/rss/6156.html

Understanding Users of Social Networks
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