In a recent interview with IT Business Edge Editor Ann All, Clara Shih, developer of Faceconnector, the first business application on Facebook, and author of "The Facebook Era," talks through eight steps of the sales cycle and explains how social networks can potentially provide some kind of value and change the underlying business processes.
"Focusing on the transparency aspect, I think there's a lot of value in having background information available that used to take several meetings to discover or that might have never even come up explicitly. Being able to pre-qualify leads this way is better for everyone. It saves time and effort for both vendor and customer."
And though that transparency raises security red flags for many social network users, Shih argues that Facebook and LinkedIn, in particular, have excellent privacy features to prevent unwanted information from reaching the masses.
"As individuals, we can decide what information we want to share with whom. So if talking about your kids is a private matter, which for many people it is, you can choose to block that from certain people. It makes people more comfortable, in general, to share. Where before, without that kind of control, they'd be really restrictive and not put any information out there."
To see what else Shih has to say, take a look at an excerpt from her book, "The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff," which was recently uploaded to the Knowledge Network.