Social networking has become an integral part of business. In fact, nearly 75% of Fortune 500 companies have adopted social media as a business strategy1. While most companies use social media for marketing, customer service and growth, gurus believe the use of social networking will take on increased urgency within the enterprise to drive increased efficiency and collaboration across internal teams.
By applying our three-stage model, companies can optimize their use of social and derive tangible benefits.
1. Select activities within your organization (strategy, design, manufacture, sale, operations and accounts) that could be enhanced by social networking, either across/within departments or consumer-focused. While some activities intuitively seem customer-focused, these dynamics can be transformative from an inward-focused use of social networking tools and techniques.
2. Identify the target audience for social based on the organizational activities above and decide on your approach; internal-focus, external-focus (customers, suppliers, partners) or hybrid.
3. Improving the social quotient by integrating IT infrastructure with social technology, often revisiting business practices through organizational decentralization. Recognizing individual skills increases employee innovation, collaboration, and consequently the information flow.
Social networking can be implemented in the organization either top-down, where IT or business managers enforce new approaches or bottom-up, built on tools that the organization is already using. While there is no agreed-to standard approach, organizations that thrive most are the ones that adopt a little of both strategies according to their requirements.