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Why Do Corporations Want Their Execs to Use Social Networking?

Online networking is getting press because there is "bling" associated with it. But why are many corporations asking their execs to create profiles and contribute this way? Here is my top 5 reasons:

  1. Enhanced education: Most large corporations value enhanced education of their key players and pay big bucks for it. Online networking allows anyone to identify experts and opinion leaders in their fields. For execs that is a two way street. They can collaborate on technical or operational issues or management practices for free. This can replace paying for seminars, coaching, consultants, trade shows, and higher education degrees to some extent. Did I mention it is free?

  2. Extend your networking opportunities: Networking is recognized as a valuable method of developing sales and partnership opportunities. "Social" networking online provides an entree into many more people in a different way.

  3. Demonstrate corporate expertise: If a company has several people recognized as leaders in their field, the company will invariably gain prestige and clientele by having their expertise publicized. As an example, LinkedIn allows members to respond to each others inquiries in groups or by publishing the executives speaking engagements, corporate executives create the appearance of expertise in a viral way. Other techniques to do this include promoting other company web-based initiatives and non- web based efforts within the social network.

  4. Stay to-the-minute current: Social networking is also a great way to get real time information and real time dialogue on issues that their decision-makers need. This is a different source (perhaps more reliable source) of information compared to customer surveys because people may be more candid online.

  5. Network when it's convenient: And all of this is available when an executive or his/her assistant has the time to do it. It also has the strength of the network tools. Instead of having to remember to ask for networking opportunities with every social contact, online networking is done when a person has the mindspace to focus on it. It provides a way to "drill down" into other people's contacts with less effort. And it provides a record of the network for future use without having to record all the information again. Corporations thrive on information and online networking is huge that way.

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