There is no doubt anymore that the social media revolution has made permanent changes to the communication landscape-both for companies and individuals. However the individual changes are what’s driving the social media industry in business, and many companies are still slow picking up on this.
I talked about this before in a blog about the hospitality industry, but the same goes for any business, really. The more you pay attention to how people prefer to communicate, and the more flexible you are about adopting changes that reflect that attention, the better off you’ll be.
And it’s not just “being social” with your customers (having social profiles where you know they hang out); it’s about being more connected in your business processes as well. Stop thinking in terms of silos of information and people, and start thinking about ways to connect everyone.
For instance, a common problem in many brands has been the gulf between marketing and sales. There has always been a “cold war” going on between those two departments because their thought processes and drivers are different. But if the end goal is to drive more business-why not give them every opportunity to collaborate? Formal meetings can be time-consuming, but social gives us opportunities to help our employees connect with each other (as well as with their personal networks).
Besides connecting marketing and sales, another way social connection can be an advantage is with customer service. In my opinion, companies that think of customer service more as a mind-set than a separate department already have an advantage. Think of ways to connect everyone who has input so they can collaborate on ways to deliver the best customer experience.
Some companies are already setting up intra-social networks to promote collaboration. One example of an enterprise social network optimized for desktop and mobile is Yammer, which is used by companies like Shell, Razorfish and 7-Eleven. There are many other programs like this; however, you don’t have to be enterprise-sized to take advantage of intra-social connection. You can use platforms such as Google Plus and Facebook to set up restricted communities and private groups to accomplish this goal as well.
New social media tools are cropping up on a daily basis to help businesses do a better job of empowering employees to connect with each other and act as “social evangelists” to their customers. Dynamic Signal is leading the way with the best and most comprehensive platform, which includes all four necessary ingredients to creating great employee advocacy: Content, Convenience, Compliance and Credit. Really great content and super convenience is critical for “empowering your employees to power your brand.” My advice is to make learning about and using such tools a priority in the coming year.
Increasing connectivity in your business will help you build both internal and external relationships, remove bottlenecks and save time. So take a look at your businesses processes from an “outside-in” perspective. Look for current disconnects and isolated groups that would benefit if they collaborated more and protected their turf less.
Brands/Companies that use social successfully, and wrap a “social” shell around all they do, will reap the rewards of customer satisfaction, deeper employee loyalty, more effective knowledge sharing, improved brand reputation, lowered costs, and most importantly, increased revenues.