SOCIAL BUSINESS: USING WEB 2.0 AND SOCIAL NETWORKS IN THE BUSINESS OF COMPANIES
Over the recent years Web 2.0 has been at the forefront of high-tech tools and technologies that companies are seeking to use in their business processes. Web 2.0 has emerged as a new wave of business innovation that gives new dimensions to the Internet as a means of communication, cooperation and doing business. This study examines the evolution of the Web in the context of opportunities for implementing technologies in companies’ businesses. Emphasis is placed on the second generation of Web technologies and the social business concept – the new opportunities for adapting and using the Web’s ideas and technologies in companies’ businesses. The nature and specific approaches and strategies of social business are presented as a new generation of technologies capable of achieving an increase in companies’ income and profits, seizing new market niches, as well as increasing sharply the labour productivity of employees and their incorporation into the main goals of the business. The first part analyzes in brief the evolution of the Web technologies and their impact on the business of companies. The focus is on the nature and changes that the second and third generation of technologies (Web 2.0 and Web 3.0) impose on business processes.The second part examines the priority areas for the application of social technologies in business: management of internal corporate communications, design and development of new products and knowledge management (Intranet environment); corporate communications and interactions with external partners and customers (Extranet environment, B2B model); e-commerce (online stores, B2C model). The practical possibilities of the three approaches for using the social networks in e-business are discussed: opening a representation (an online store) on Facebook or another social network, as an addition to the already existing traditional online store; online trading directly in the social network, without an online store; using the social networks as a complement and alternative to the search engines. The third part of the study examines social business as an opportunity to use new social platforms for communication between companies and their customers. The nature of the new concept of social cooperation, which ultimately reflects in higher productivity and returns on investment, is analyzed. The author presents and analyzes several aspects of social business in a company’s activities – marketing in a Web 2.0 environment and working with clients of the company, interactions with business partners, personnel management and knowledge management in the company.