Social Media Enterprise: In the words of Angela Ahrendts, you have to.

ksmith244    April 1, 2017

Today, most companies are using social media in some capacity, but very few are anywhere near achieving the full potential. People assume that social media for business purposes are primarily for marketing and recruitment. But, leading organizations like Burberry, Virgin and General Electric are recognizing the positive impact social media can have when it implemented across all departments within the organization. The term Whole Enterprise Social Media means the integrated approach to the use of social media for performance improvement.

Though integrated social media systems are available, most companies are still functioning with internal department working in silos and using technology systems specified for a single business purpose. The problem is that this makes communication more difficult and processes very inefficient. For example accounting, sales and marketing are three different areas that likely have overlap of customer and vendor data. Working independently means three different departments are entering the same data, communicating in various capacities and likely not coordinating efforts very well internally.

In addition to companies having the same work done multiple times, there are several examples of unproductive use of time. This is an area where social media has the capabilities to change that. For instance, how many hours per day do you spending sorting through, reading and deleting emails? Recently I came back from a vacation, and had done something I have never done in my career—I turned off business email on my phone. This gave me slight anxiety when I returned to the office and I ended up spending 75% of my first day back simply on sifting through emails. According to Dr. Ward, Professor of Social Media at Syracuse University, 50% of people’s work days are dealing with emails.

In addition to wasted time on email, the Centre for Economics and Business Research stated in 2014 that the average office employee spends 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings. According to the company Atlassian, a software development and collaboration tool, unproductive meetings are costing American businesses $37 billion per year in wasted company time. I don’t know about you, but I am currently thinking of all the things we could be doing that would, oh ya know, make the world a better place.

So what can be done? The development of a social media enterprise for an organization is based on understanding potential performance improvements, understanding the value of doing business the way people are living their lives—digitally. Social media tools allow people both internally and externally to communicate instantly, easily search for and share knowledge, as well as house documents.

Burberry is one of the very few companies that I could find who are championing a social media enterprise system and they began this process in 2012—well ahead of most global brands. They integrated a custom Salesforce platform called Burberry Chatter, across the whole organization. It also allowed customers to have questions answered in real time, or for sales associates to know what pieces a customer in a physical store liked on Facebook or had favorited on social media. This is transforming the retail experience and making it much more customized.

I spoke to Shakeel Lamba, Senior Account Executive for Enterprise Corporate Sales at Salesforce. I wanted to get an understanding of the trend he is seeing with organizations incorporating social media enterprise systems. Shakeel said,

“The more progressive organizations are seeing the value of enterprise systems and are eagerly adopting social media into their business across the board. They are seeing results in productivity and huge increases in business insights from collected data. But, there are also other organizations who are implementing smaller modules in their company and are a bit more resistant to change on a broader scale.”

Lessons for Others

If you choose not to be digital and to ignore integrating social media into your organization as a whole, you are taking two steps backwards in a world that is increasingly more competitive and rapidly changing. Companies can’t afford to lose money on inefficient processes. In the video above regarding social media enterprises, Angela Arhendts stated, “to any CEO who is skeptical at all, you have to create a social media enterprise today. You have to be totally connected with anyone who touches your brand. If you don’t do that, I don’t know what your business model is in five years.” The lesson for others is to question your business model in five years. Where will your company stand in five years?

Organization: Salesforce
Industry: Software
Name of Organization Contact: Shakeel Lamba, Account Executive, Salesforce

Authored by: Kristy Smith

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.


Chui, M. (2012, July). The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity Through Social Technologies. Retrieved March 29, 2017 from McKinsey website

Sareen, H. (n.d.) Enterprise Social Networks May One Day Replace Email. Retrieved March 31, 2017 from Wired website

Torr, D. (2014, June 20). Beyond Marketing: The Benefits of Social Media Throughout an Entire Organization. Retrieved March 31, 2017, from Hootsuite website

Wainwight, C. (2012, July 14). You’re Going to Waste 31 Hours in Meetings This Month. Retrieved from Hubspot website

You waste a lot of time at work (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from Atlassian website