Social Networks, Enterprise Impact
"One of the major areas that we're now finding to need major-league integration is the contact center and social networks."
Social media opens many more channels for the customer and contact center. However, public social media sites, by definition, do not belong to the enterprise and are not under their control. Social media sites keep popping up, some to be successful and others to disappear.
Should the social media site in enterprise use be provided by the enterprise or should public be used? Steve Taylor of www.webtorials.com and I were discussing this question. Steve pointed pout social media within an enterprise can be very useful. Many employees know their friends but may not know someone on another floor or building.
Jive Software is one example of an enterprise social networking platform that can be operated by the enterprise for the benefit of the employees, their external contacts, such as vendors and suppliers, and marketing efforts. Enterprises are filled with experts on many subjects; the human resources department may be able to inform an employee of a potential expert available, but usually not in real time. Using Jive allows employees to locate the expert resource and arrange communities of interest within the enterprise, while still retaining control of the content and access to the information. Therefore do not assume that public sites are the best solution for the enterprise internal social networking.
Who uses what public site for what purpose is important to determine. Linkedin is better suited to getting a job and networking with professionals with common interests. Steve said that about 80% of the Linkedin users provide their personal, not business, e-mail addresses.
One of the primary decisions that enterprise has to make is "What kind of information do they want to derive from the social media sites?" A second question is "What type of sites will best suite the needs of the enterprise?"
Steve at Webtorials.com conducted a survey of their community to measure the usage of social media. The participants of the survey are primarily technologists in ICT who plan for next generation networks. “Social Networking in the Workplace” by Steven Taylor, Webtorials Analyst Division is available at: http://www.webtorials.com/content/featured/webtorials/special-projects/.
The respondents to the survey mentioned these social networks as their primary choices (multiple choices were allowed):
* Linkedin 82.6% * Wikipedia 66.3% * Instant Messaging 65.6% * Facebook 64.8% * YouTube 58.1% * Twitter 45.2%
The values of social networking to this webtorial community were:
* Improved workgroup communications * Connecting to peers within the organization * Connecting to peers outside the organization * Improved feedback
The responses demonstrated that social media users operate on multiple sites. However, the sites selected do vary in their utility. Linkedin users were using the site for professional purposes. Linkedin is also used by contractors to communicate with potential business partners and vendors. Facebook users were using the site for less business and more personal reasons. Twitter is being used for social instant messaging. One company uses YouTube to distribute videos to employees. Companies that use social networking to start a marketing effort usually move to traditional methods once a successful contact has been made.
The information on each of these sites varied considerably. The Webtorials community felt that e-mail (68.6%) was the most important method for getting updates vs. SMS, RSS feeds or listserv. A corresponding survey of other social media sites may have a different conclusion.