Just 12 percent of enterprises say they are using social media channels effectively. Employing these best practices will boost your odds of success.
William J. Ward, a social media professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, cites Wal-Mart as an excellent example of how the giant retailer uses its internal social network to improve employee satisfaction and efficiencies as well as its external social network to spread positive information to corporate partners and customers. [See this video for how Wal-Mart uses social media for change management.]
“This case study—and other good corporate examples like Ford, Dell, FedEx, IBM and Pepsi—proves that social media isn’t just an external marketing function,” Ward observes. “It’s internal as well, with customer service, HR, PR, advertising and marketing all benefiting from it, too.”
At Google, a portion of the bonus employees receive is based on their use of the company’s Google+ product in terms of social collaboration; if you work at Google and don’t use the product, it costs you money.
And at Salesforce.com, job candidates need to have a Klout Score of 35 or higher to be considered for a position, Ward says. “That’s a great example of holding people accountable for using social collaboration tools, rewarding those who do it well and penalizing those who don’t measure up.”
When Michael Brito, senior vice president of social business strategy at Edelman Digital, recommends to clients that they use social media internally, he says it is to enable the company to “collectively crowdsource all of the smart thinkers in the enterprise to promote product innovation, process improvement, and employee advocacy.”
And, Brito says, companies ought to consider leveraging the thought leadership of their engineers, scientists and product people by teaching them how to use social media, which can be externally good for the brand.
“If I want information on a new product, I want to learn from the people who build it. They are the ones I trust—not the marketing people who are trying to sell it to me (and I’m a marketing person),” Brito explains. “If you can enable that through technology, it’s a big plus for the enterprise.”
CIOs that ignore social media do so at their own peril, warns Syracuse University’s Ward.
“CIOs really can’t afford to miss out on the whole conversation,” he says. “Being out of the loop could eventually lead to their becoming irrelevant. CIOs who don’t use this technology are going to be replaced by CIOs who do. That should be an incentive right there.”
About the Author
Paul Hymanis a freelance technology writer and editor. He was an editor-in-chief at CMP Publications (now United Business Media) and currently reports for such publications as Communications of the ACM, IHS’ Electronics360, and CRM Magazine. See an archive of some of his stories.