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Ingage Networks Tweaks Social Media for the Marketplace

As news continues to break almost weekly about privacy changes and breaches on Facebook, companies should seriously consider their use of public social media tools in the enterprise. An alternative is to deploy social media tools designed specifically for business use.Recently I met with Dan Miller and some other folks from Ingage Networks, which develops social media applications for government and the enterprise, delivered as a hosted service. The company started with a mission to make it easier for citizens to interact with government, by enabling them to comment publically on new initiatives, for instance, or provide feedback on new policies. It has since leveraged that experience to develop social media tools for the enterprise. And it has had some good success, where others still have only good intentions.

The company has four products under the "ELAvate" brand, each aimed at improving the customer experience, driving loyalty and improving sales: Community, to launch an online community with a full set of social media features to encourage brand discussion and ideas; Crowdsourcing, to tap the so-called "wisdom of crowds" and capture user-generated ideas; Public Comment, to gather large-scale public comment and manage collaboration for projects, events, and legislation; and Movo, to support mobile marketing campaigns. Marketplace is due soon and will enable like-minded organizations to meet, communicate and do business online.

The private company, which has been around for more than 10 years and employs around 100 people, boasts a solid roster of customers, including Grand Am Road Racing (which is using Community to develop a network of fans, increasing loyalty and ticket sales); Microsoft (which uses Crowdsourcing to connect partners and generate more leads for the channel); the City of New Orleans (which is using Public Comment to cost-effectively increase citizen participation); and Adidas (which has used Movo to increase revenue by a factor of 20 for the time period and location in which it was used).

Lest you question those results, the company helps its customers measure their own ROI, offering an array of analytics to determine which marketing strategies are working, and which aren't.

Finally, despite the security issues associated with public social media sites, Ingage isn't trying to replace popular networks like Facebook and Twitter. Instead, it lets companies leverage the information generated on such sites, by integrating it with CRM systems and using it as a basis for further discussion and development.