Social media is the fastest adopted media in human history. Organizations are working hard to catch up and quickly realizing that a social business is a connected business. Spending on the enterprise social market is expected to increase steadily to an estimated $4.5 billion by 2016. The integration of social media across all aspects of an organization to maximize efficiencies results in a myriad of benefits including:
- Enhanced communications across the supply chain of day to day activities.
- More opportunities for collaboration amongst organizational silos.
- Heightened focus on the frontline provides faster customer feedback and response time.
- Organizations can quickly address any quality concerns and use shared data to develop products that are more aligned with customer needs.
- Sharing of cost minimization ideas across organizational silos.
- Heightened employee engagement and productivity.
- Enhancement of work flow along the supply chain.
- Inspires employees to have fun at work while doing good things.
- Breakdown of internal barriers. Business are often created in silos that don’t communicate well with each other. Integration allows employees to communicate across organizational boundaries.
Over the years, social media has been recognized more by businesses as an effective business building tool. According to extensive research conducted by the Altimeter Group, in 2015, 55% of strategists said integration of social and digital was a top priority, this is a 110% increase from 2013. This suggests that social media is no longer seen as a separate business silo but is seen as a part of digital, paid media and overall marketing efforts including content marketing. Social media integration is therefore important as information needs to be shared amongst these areas.
For companies to successfully integrate social media, there needs to be full support and recognition of this from C-Suite leadership, senior management and all employees. According to Altimeter Group, employee advocacy is on the rise. Leveraging employees to advocate is becoming more of a priority. In 2015, interest in employee advocacy has grown 191% since 2013, with 45% of respondents naming it a top external objective. Increased employee advocacy and employee focused initiatives again provides a strong case for the social integration. The impact of employee engagement can contribute to the recruitment and retention of staff hence, collaboration with human resources and marketing is necessary to minimize any risks to the organization in terms of content for example.
Another case for social media integration is the increase in social media ad spending. According to the Altimeter Group, as at 2015, social ad spends were up 205% since 2013. This increase in social media ad spending provides another strong case for social media integration as clearly social media is no longer seen as simply earned media, it is now connected to paid media; hence the importance of social media collaboration with marketing and advertising teams. There is now trend towards a convergence of paid media, owned media and earned media (social media) which further emphasizes the need for unified goals and collaboration.
In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards content marketing (a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience). The development and distribution of content needs to be continuous, impactful and relevant to effectively stimulate the desired customer profitable action. Impactful content needs to be obtained from all aspects of the organization such as sales, research and development, human resources and especially from those business silos dealing directly with the frontline. This again highlights the need for social media integration. Organizations need to build a culture of content.
Successful Whole Enterprise Social Media
There are four key elements for the successful integration of social media across the enterprise.
- People: All stakeholders need to be involved in social integration, from C-Suite executives to senior leadership to all business units, external partners and all employees. All stakeholders will contribute to creating stories that will shape the content culture of the organization.
- Processes:There needs to be a clear value exchange for all involved for successful social integration. How social media can benefit each business unit needs to be clearly articulated and understood by each business unit. For example, Human Resources needs to understand the positive impact that social media can have on the successful recruitment and retention of top talent.
- Education and Training for all stakeholders is essential to successful integration.
- Technology: Organizations need to determine which tools can help them to develop social media strategy effectively and which can best measure results. Some of the enterprise collaboration platforms that exist include Yammer, IBM Connections Suite and Jive.
Bosch recently collaborated with IBM Connections Suite in the integration of social across their organization. The results have been impressive in helping to address some key challenges:
Globalization, Innovation and Diversity: With the integration of a social business platform, Bosch’s workforce and production facilities which are located across the world can now share ideas, knowledge and experiences. That represents 250,000 people contributing to product innovation and business opportunities. Moreover, connecting the different cultures, genders and generations from across the world has contributed to inspiring collaborations and the sharing of new perspectives and ideas.
Speed and Efficiency: The integration of a social media platform has allowed for a leaner, faster and more efficient organization. An example of this is the relocation of their production lines, before the integration, the cycle time for relocation was 40 days. Since the building of the social business platform, 9 business entities collaborated over 3 months to reduce the cycle time from 40 to 6 days!
Lessons for Others
- The integration of social media across the enterprise can help organizations in the pursuit of overall goals.
- Integration can also help respective business segments achieve their respective goals.
- Social integration can contribute to heightened idea generation, collaboration and product innovation.
- Companies have built social platforms to address such challenges as globalization, speed and efficiency, cost reduction and growth.
- Social integration significantly improves communication across supply chains which contributes to reduced production time, reduced costs and improved quality.
- Social integration contributes to heightened employee engagement. When people in an organization are involved in creating the strategy, it is more likely to succeed.
- If corporate vision is established, through social integration, everyone in organization will be ale to contribute to the achievement of the vision with less direction.
- There is a trend towards increased social media ad spending which suggests a move from earned media to paid media further supporting the case for integration with advertising and marketing.
- There is a growing trend towards employee advocacy which supports needs for social integration.
- Content marketing is on the rise. There is a growing need for organizations to develop “content cultures”. All aspects of the organization, especially those on the frontline, need to contribute to the organization’s pipeline of stories and content, hence the need for social integration.
Name of Organization Contact: Sheri Papps, media contact
Authored by: Diana N. Oddi
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
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