Enterprise social networking applications facilitate, capture and organize open conversations and information sharing between individual workers and groups within an organization. In addition to capabilities that support conversations and information sharing, they can keep track of the network of relationships between participants (via social graphs), in order to deliver a personalized stream of updates about events or conversations to individuals (via news feeds and activity streams). These applications help people find out about each other, have discussions, share information and generally interact. Interaction occurs either at a one-to-one level, or in groups, teams, communities and networks, and in the context of structured or unstructured business activities.
The social customer service market comprises applications that support social media as a component of an overall customer service strategy. Gartner classifies an application provider as a social customer service vendor if it supports customer service in one or two specific types of function: External communities: Often referred to as peer-to-peer communities, this software enables customers and partners to blog, post, rate products/services and construct ideas, as well as support peer interactions and offer incentives for loyalty. Social media engagement: Going beyond just monitoring social media for brand mentions, these applications are capable of responding to constituents on popular social networks and have case management.
The market for social software in the workplace includes software products that support people working together in teams, communities or networks. These products can be tailored to support a variety of collaborative activities. Buyers are looking for virtual environments that can engage participants to create, organize and share information, and encourage them to find, connect and interact with each other. Business use of these products ranges from project coordination within small teams or homogeneous groups, to information exchange between employees across an entire organization.