Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Astronology: Integrated Social Media

IBM’s blog makes clear for us social networking’s overall effects: the world currently spends 110 billion minutes on social networks and blog sites per month…which equates to 22% of all time spent online. We live in a social media age. Social networking, in particular, has been at the forefront of this trend.  Whether you’re using Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or myriad other social networking sites for personal or business use, you simply can’t escape the dominance of social media and its influence on the masses. Since the rise of social media, organizations in all sectors have been trying to find ways to use it to better themselves.   

With the popularity of social media, many organizations have been curious on whether one aspect, social networking, could be used to better their functionality. Social networking can be confusing with its various forms. To clarify, there are three types of social networks:

-Public social networks: such as Facebook or Twitter, which can be used to make contact with customers and potential customers.

-Social extranets: such as customer communities, which allow for deeper communication and collaboration with customers and even private communication between business partners.  An example of a social extranet includes a message board community designed solely for an organization’s customers.

-Employee networks: an internal organization communication device, such as a company designed instant messaging system / video conferencing community.

It’s been noted that although employee networks have made the least progress in terms of popularity, they offer the greatest potential in business value. Some of IBM’s customers have noted success in self-tailored social collaborative / social network devices for their businesses. For instance, the electronics manufacturer Celestica has noticed a “$40 million savings opportunity.”  VCC, a construction firm, noticed a 40% year over year increase in new business due to its IBM created social device.

What are some tools organizations could use to test the waters of social networking in their businesses? Kurt Kaufer, an associate at e-Boost Consulting, lists the following:
  • Yammer: A social networking service that focuses on businesses. Only employees with the same e-mail domain of an organization can join their specific network.  David Sacks, the founder of Yammer explains, “If Twitter asks, ‘what are you doing?’ Yammer asks, ‘What are you working on?”
  • Digsby: An instant messaging (IM) application. Besides supporting the IM protocols of AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, and Facebook Chat, Digsby also has a feature that alerts the user of e-mail notifications and alerts from MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Skype: A software that allows users to make telephone calls and video calls over the internet. Other useful features include an instant messenger and file transfer. This is extremely helpful for organizations that may not be able to verbally describe changes that need to be made to project documents or other work related items.  If items need to be physically seen, a video call can clear confusion.
Kaufer also listed podcasts and wiki websites as useful social media tools to help with organizational collaborative progress.

Has your organization found ways to use social networking to better itself? Do you see areas where your organization could possibly use some of the tools listed? Share with us your thoughts on social media and its impact on your organization!

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