Guest post by Melinda Morales (@trulymelinda), SharePoint Consultant with GTconsult
It is no secret that the word “Social” is not always well received or even taken seriously in the enterprise. While we are starting to see some marked improvements in overall acceptance of certain forms of social – typically social media marketing – we still are not seeing the swing to practical application for internal consumption. Clearly, bringing social into the enterprise is more than having an intern post to Twitter on a regular basis. Social has become a critical factor for communication and collaboration.
Overall, the use of social technologies has become more accepted in Sales & Marketing functions as a way to reach your customer base thanks to overwhelming data leaning toward increases in customer satisfaction for brands who have a social media presence. Most organizations are even starting to make the jump into applying the social approach to internal SM processes such as sales force management and developing marketing plans – and seeing measurable successes. Why then are we still seeing resistance toward overall adoption for internal audiences outside of Sales & Marketing?
Having experienced the last decade with social media for personal use we have had time to work through the resistance cycle, making us generally acknowledge at least some benefit to keeping in touch or finding common interests. A generation is now coming up who have been primarily social and are integrating different mediums into their daily lives. As this generation enters the workforce, we see more interest in applying social to the daily work life as well.
Let’s take a look at some ways to illustrate the benefit of social in our daily work lives in parallel to how we are familiar with social for personal use:
Decision Based Research
Personal: Searching for information before purchasing a product.
Over 80 percent of us research products before buying. Some of us even consult our phones right in the stores to find out the “truth” about a product even though we are looking right at it.
Enterprise: Searching for information to make informed decisions.
We are good at asking questions but often, access to the answers is bottlenecked by hierarchy. Opening access to information and allowing our empowered employees to make informed decisions can greatly increase our speed to react and implement. Outside of information libraries, leveraging social platforms with a solid data governance strategy can put the most relevant and up to date insights at our fingertips.
Personal: Facebook post asking for help from friends.
“I am moving and in need of a truck. Anyone our there able to help?”
The beauty of a network is the ability to reach out and well, network. Social platforms increase the ability to utilize that network and receive immediate assistance.
Enterprise: Post asking for assistance with the final leg of a project.
When you have a readily available mechanism for your employees to solicit assistance to fulfill specific needs in a timely fashion, the benefit is huge. Instead of being held to the typical resource constraints, ask your network for experts who are willing and able to lend a hand when the going gets tough. You may be surprised at the number of employees willing and even excited to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Personal: Reporting issues based on experiences.
@Company I just had a really bad experience with your product and I need assistance immediately!
Twitter is quite good at facilitating customer escalations and giving consumers a direct line to hold the company accountable. The fact that any feedback is visible publicly ensures that companies take it seriously and respond in a timely fashion.
Enterprise: Proposing ideas and reporting issues to management.
@ProcurementMgr I was trying to purchase office supplies and had to go through 4 different confirmation screens. I have some ideas for improvement on this process. Can we get together?
This type of message may scare some of you but the benefits far outweigh any initial reaction to allowing your employees the ability to escalate issues openly. Similar to Twitter, you will have a certain level of accountability immediately applied since others in your organization will also be able to see the post. In addition, you will be able to solicit input from others in the organization who have had similar experiences and may also be able to assist with solving the problem.
As with any customer service – external or internal – replying quickly and professionally is critical. Added bonus: you can even return to the original post with success stories if/when improvements are implemented.
Personal: Ever have a great day? Every have a great day and post on Facebook about it as soon as you get home?
A sense of support and comradery is present within our social media circles. We connect with people because we can relate and when we relate we get support. Pats on the back during times of great success or turbulence are always appreciated (even virtual ones).
Enterprise: Likes and favorites in the hands of management.
One of the greatest ways to foster that sense of support and community and help introduce social into the enterprise is to have members of executive management simply “like” or “favorite” posts regularly. Providing virtual acknowledgement of successes and recognition of ideas has extreme positive impact. If someone has posted about a success… like it. If someone has posted an idea they would like to explore… favorite it. Want to really blow them away? Add a comment! And don’t be surprised if your employees save a screen shot of that epic time the COO “liked” their idea as if it was a certificate on the wall.
Taking time to strategically map scenarios where social can be applied in our day-to-day operations can open our eyes to many opportunities for improvement. Really, social is just one aspect of expected functionality for generations entering the workforce and it is time to start thinking about practical implementations.