Social Media: Why Your Company May Have the Wrong Ideas

By - November 12, 2013

Social media is a hot-button topic across both the consumer and business worlds, with a vast range of opinions from both sides.  While it may be well-defined on from the consumer viewpoint it has become a sticking point in many businesses.  While social media can be defined as anything from a Wiki page to YouTube, many businesses have yet to embrace this latest form of communication.  Why is that?

Many organizations believe that social media is just another method for their employees to be distracted from their jobs.  They often block sites like Facebook or Reddit in an attempt to curb their usage.  Other organizations believe that social media can adversely affect their organizations by painting it or their employee in a bad light.  Twitter has become a quick way to express your opinions and media, but someone’s posts about or at their employers have bled into the consumer side, often leading to corporate embarrassment.

So it is no wonder that many companies are hesitant to add social media to their IT portfolio.  What many of these companies need to understand are the capabilities and advantages of Enterprise Social Media.  It is one thing to advertise your brand or promotions on Facebook or Twitter.  Enterprise Social Media falls into a completely different category as it is primarily focused internal to the organization.  Technologies such as Microsoft’s Yammer allow your company to:

  • Collaborate internally:  Regardless of your skill level with other social networks, Yammer allows you to easily communicate with others inside your organization.  Users can gain corporate insight over their preferred browser (does not have to be Internet Explorer) or mobile app and can do so whether they are in the office or on a plane.  And communication is limited to internal use only by default, so this collaboration remains private to the organization.
  • Extend the reach of your communication:  Email is a well-established method of communicating your thoughts or ideas but it is limited in scope.  That limitation may be self-imposed (you only intend to reach a certain audience) or unintentional (you do not know how broad your audience should be).  Yammer allows you to post to a specific audience, but that audience may consistently expand due to new additions to your group or people interested in following your thoughts.
  • Allow employees a constructive means to express opinions:  Sharing ideas for improvements can often be difficult for employees as the forum or motivations are not always available.  If an organization is serious about self-improvement then the voice of the employee is critical to success.  Yammer provides a forum for employees to provide constructive feedback about things like product offerings or processes.  It allows companies to move from the status quo and become truly innovative.  A great example of this is how Red Robin used Yammer to help roll out a new offering faster than it usually took to go to market, mostly because of the feedback of their employees.  Read/watch more about it here.
  • Learn more about your employees and organization:  We are sometimes limited by our interactions with fellow employees and may not realize how deep their skill sets run or even what capabilities our own organization may have available.  Yammer allows you to search across posts and profiles to find specific skill or knowledge sets within your organization.  I was recently looking for anyone who had COBIT Framework skills at McGladrey and was able to easily find more resources than I originally thought I would, using Yammer to perform my search.

Many companies may see social media as a cost of doing business or something to avoid entirely.  What they are missing is that there are forms of Enterprise Social Media that can be extremely beneficial, and for some crucial, to their normal business operations.  How many great ideas for your organization will be passed up because employees do not have the forum or confidence for their thoughts to be heard?  Has your company passed on a project or opportunity because you did not know that you already have the skills needed internally?  Ask yourself these questions the next time you think that Enterprise Social Media is wrong for your organization.

Check out how RSM is putting all of the latest Microsoft technologies to use here.  And for a deeper dive on Enterprise Social Media, please contact a RSM technology consulting professional by calling us at 800.274.3978 or contacting us. Or, please check out our services offerings on our website.

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