Social media quote – No 16
‘What is a social business? It’s an organization that integrates social technologies with critical business processes to improve the productivity of its workforce and create exceptional customer service.’ Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Social Business, IBM
Alistair Rennie makes two very important points in regards to social media and business; two points that business managers often fail to fully grasp.
The first is that social business is a business that needs to integrate social technologies with critical business processes.
Opening a Facebook Page or a Twitter account will not turn your business into a social one. Business managers need to understand that in order for social media’s full potential to be utilized, it needs to be incorporated within the very DNA of their organizations.
Everyone in the organization needs to be involved in this ‘social revolution’, whether it is the marketing department, the IT division or the business managers themselves.
This social revolution furthermore needs to be supported by a sound strategy that will prevent organizations form going enthusiastically in the wrong direction.
Failing to establish clear goals from the very beginning for your social media plan may bring more risks than benefits; thus using social media needs to be done strategically and constructively within a step-by-step framework.
The second important point that Alistair Rennie makes is that social media, when properly integrated and thus efficiently used, can serve to achieve two crucial goals for your organization.
On the one hand, it can be an excellent tool to ‘create exceptional customer service’; hence, it can be used to create external leverage by tapping into pools of customers and create leads.
Social media can allow organizations to engage with customers and potential leads in meaningful and useful discussions, establishing a kind of ‘relationship’ with them.
By listening to people and allowing them to participate in a dialogue about their products and services, organizations can not only get increasingly more customers, but also gradually turn them, or some of them, into loyal ones.
On the other hand, and this is one aspect that business managers often do not see as clearly as the latter aspect; social media is equally an excellent tool to ‘improve the productivity of its workforce’.
While it can be used externally between a company and its customers, social media can also be used internally within the company itself to increase the productivity of its own staff.
Social media tools allow for more efficient collaboration between employees by not only providing productive platforms to work together on, but also by allowing this to happen regardless of geographical boundaries or time zones.
This means that employees who are geographically scattered across company branches, for instance, can all work and communicate together no matter their location.
Moreover, mobile technology is taking this phenomenon one step further by allowing collaboration to take place ‘on the move’ – i.e., while going from one meeting to another, from the office to the airport, from a trade exhibition back to the office or in other words, while moving.
If properly integrated, social media can thus help organizations increase their competitive advantage by being used both internally and externally. As social technology is constantly moving forward, companies that do not take advantage of social media now will end up lagging behind others tomorrow; thus starting today is key.
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