Social Media at Work…arguments for businesses to make it happen!
I’m still amazed to see that social media still can’t get enough respect in the workplace… and still many multinationals don’t get it.
They always invoke the same reasons:
- performance & ROI
- not a priority
- for young consumers
- for B2C, we are in B2B.
While it’s certain that most companies’ executives I’ve met think they should do something about it…most, don’t have enough arguments to push it internally and make it happen. Here are some:
Paul Proctor, a Gartner VP argued:
Computing security, too, is changing. IT security staff should think carefully before exercising a reflex to prevent employees from communicating with Facebook’s e-mail or Skype’s Internet telephony.
You cannot protect yourself from everything. You must learn to balance risk and performance. The cloud and software as a service have appeal, but they introduce a huge shift in how technology is managed and controlled. Software for intrusion detection, antivirus, and firewall protection is still essential, but there are limits to what’s practical.
China’s incoming firewall revealed that while it’s possible to block some incoming information, it’s not practical to block the widespread outbound flow of information.
Don’t try to shut down the two-way flow of information, because you can’t stop it. Transparency is in.
What I generally recommend is for companies to educate users on the risks and responsibilities of online reputation management and to tell employees that corporate conduct rules apply online, too!
The following presentation about ‘The Future of Work’ is interesting, as gives us some insight about how some foresee work in few years from now.
Another good article I recommend to read is Enterprises Must Get Control of Their Avatars.
PERFORMANCE & ROI
Businesses are increasingly using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for marketing purposes, but those same companies don’t want employees logging on during work hours. For a majority of companies still, an employee wasting time on social media is a performance problem.
Productive employees are too busy with their work to spend lots of time in social media having personal conversations. Instead, they use social media as a mean to get their work done. This is true in any sector of the company, being marketing, PR, HR, R&D, NPD or CRM. Although social media channels seem to be mostly qualitative in nature, employee and users activities can be easily quantified.
Watch this video and read my blog post on ‘How To: Calculate Social Media ROI‘.
In fact, business has not changed. Social Media has just shifted the way business is done. Hard and Soft Metrics still apply. Hard metrics for the financial impact: Cost Reduction and Revenue Generation. Soft metrics, the transactional precursors: Brand & Product Mentions, View & Click throughs and Traffic Impressions.
NOT A PRIORITY
While I might possibly agree that for small companies, with very local business, social media is not their immediate priority, it cannot be the case for companies with consumers spread across markets in one or several continents.
FOR YOUNG CONSUMERS
Let’s take a look at some of the numbers behind the top social networks in order to get a clearer picture of network engagement and user demographics. As Brian Solis had added:
Remember, it’s how you interpret these numbers combined with an understanding of the real world needs and experiences of the people you’re attempting to engage that determines the success or failure of your social media program.
Those numbers clearly show that the 25 – 54 age range represent an average of 42% of total social networks users.
Having said that, what really matters is that with social media, people of all ages are more than ever ‘connected’. They search, discover, comment, dialog, discuss, blog, create, and share all these on social media. At 90:10 Group, which I head for France and Italy, we say ‘a business that operates without a comment box, operates broken’. So get ready.
For B2C, we are in B2B
Traditional B2B marketers resist social media because it doesn’t work when they use it as another outbound marketing channel. They will often say: “We’re a B2B operation! We don’t have social-savvy customers like B2C companies.”
Instead of thinking B2B vs B2C, just think “human” said Chris Brogan.
I can recommend reading B2C vs B2B Social Media – any difference?, as well as The Business of Social Media: B2B and B2C Engagement by the Numbers by Brian Solis.
To conclude, I recommend business to start looking ahead and transform their enterprise into an ‘Enterprise 2.0‘, for efficient collaboration and knowledge exchange, even if this mean ‘chaos’ for most managers. Enterprise 2.0 changes the traditional structured information flow and order. Information flows laterally as well as up and down, cutting the chains that hold back collaboration in a traditional office environment. But when done right, this chaos boosts overall productivity.