Apparently, 2012 is the year of the social business. And if that is the case, then I am more than happy to see that prediction come to be. But knowing you should be more social and actually being social are two different things. Insights Consulting recently conducted a survey involving marketing managers from 400 businesses in the UK and US. The full results can be seen in a presentation here, but one of the initial takeaways is that while many businesses have adopted social networks, most struggle to fully integrate a social mandate. So how do you close that gap?
Allocate the Resources
Social will change the way you do business, and that ain’t no small thing. Underestimating the scale of change will be the biggest mistake many businesses will make. We all learned our lesson from signing up for every new social media site that seemed fun for a day and then being overwhelmed by having more profiles than you could count (or even remember) and giving up on almost all. So let’s not do that again! Understand that this will be a process, it will take time (if not your own time, then your staff’s time) and you will need to invest in the right programs for your business.
Build from Within
If you want your employees to effectively use social channels to the benefit of the company then weave social tools into the internal processes that you already have in place. Tools like Yammer, Salesforce Chatter and Jostle are social media networks design specifically for corporate use. If your employees learn how to use newsfeeds for communication and to moderate groups to manage their workload then it will be a more natural switch to external social media channels.
Pick the Right Tools
There are so many tools and applications that its challenging to know which ones will help you. Using social media channels like YouTube, Twitter, and Google+ are obvious marketing and communication tools but social integration will mean findings tools that fill a need within your business beyond basic social media. Tools like Zendesk, Basecamp and Slideshare all have social facets but are also practical programs that can help improve the way you do business.
Social Media Policy
If letting your staff lose with all your social media marbles makes you nervous then make sure you clarify the responsibilities and expectations by having a clear and simple social media policy. It’s widely publicised that Dell has over 6000 staff trained to use social media. You might think that a company that size, with that many fingers in the cookie jar, would have a book-length social media policy. But no, it’s actually just a page or two. Check it out and use as inspiration for crafting your own policy.
Do you buy into the concept of Social Business? Have you found interesting ways of using social tools in other areas of your business?
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