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How social is your business?

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By Martin Conboy

social-mediaSocial media is no longer simply a tool for marketers to engage customers. According to a new research report from Altimeter, The 2015 State of Social Business: Priorities Shift from Scaling to Integrating, organisations are increasingly viewing it as platform to support a broader digital vision and to achieve new levels of employee engagement.

The research surveyed 113 individuals responsible for social media strategies across organisations with over 250 employees. One of the key findings was that 60% of responding organisations have employee engagement social business programs in place or were planning to establish one. Interest in employee advocacy has grown 191% since 2013 .

Encouraging appropriate social media interactions can improve collaboration between colleagues and teams, strengthening their commitment to the organisation. Employees that post thoughts and ideas around company changes or initiatives will become more invested in outcomes. Social media allows them to connect with clients and colleagues. They can use their networks to find answers and resolve issues, raising productivity and efficiency across departmental silos.

A range of social tools have emerged to help organisations social employee engagement. LinkedIn launched its employee advocacy product “Elevate”, while Facebook is trialling “Facebook at Work”. These programs have their challenges.

Encouraging appropriate social media interactions can improve collaboration between colleagues and teams, strengthening their commitment to the organisation.

For social media to be utilised as a general business tool to help all areas of the business require more engagement and buy-in from leaders and executives.

According to the Altimeter research, programs like employee advocacy and social selling, which are focused on building and leveraging employee relationships, are hampered by a number of issues such as the lack of an obvious owner . Organisations must understand the need for ongoing commitment that includes tracking and rewarding employees that participate. They also need a leader at the executive level who can champion these programs and initiatives.

For social media to be utilised as a general business tool to help all areas of the business require more engagement and buy-in from leaders and executives. The Altimeter research highlights that only 27% of executives were active on social media. They frequently dismiss it as “something that teenagers do” or it’s marketing’s responsibility. They don’t view it as a viable vehicle to help lead and provide guidance to the organisation.

Most enterprises realise that social media offers significant opportunities beyond simply being a marketing channel to push communication to prospects and customers.

It needs to be integrated into the overall digital strategy and vision for the business. Ed Terpening, author of the Altimeter report, “This will require leadership to articulate a social business vision beyond marketing and communications, while also ensuring a governance structure is in place to keep an increasing number of autonomous departments and employees acting together to support a unified, cross-channel customer (and employee) experience”.

The development of robust social media platforms can encourage knowledge sharing and creative thinking. In days gone by businesses relied on meetings, company newsletters and bulletins, and team building days. These channels were a slow and often costly means to disseminate information and handle change projects.

The ability to quickly disseminate widespread information is both a powerful tool and a potential risk for an organisation. Particularly in an age where digital disruption is driving rapid and constant change.

Having said all that, a growing concern for employers is how to manage their employees’ social media use and its potential impact on their brand. Social media gaffes made by your employees can have a very real impact on your business and social media policies are now just as necessary for employers as discrimination, leave, and vacation policies

http://www.altimetergroup.com/pdf/reports/2015-State-Of-Social-Business-Altimeter-Group.pdf.

http://www.altimetergroup.com/pdf/reports/2015-State-Of-Social-Business-Altimeter-Group.pdf
August 13, 2015
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