The MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte University Press have collaborated to produce an excellent paper on the value of social media. It is titled Moving Beyond Marketing and it can be found here.
The article made me realise that if all an organisation is doing is using social media for communicating messages and monitoring the response, they are missing out on great opportunities. The paper is based on research into social media use by business and derives its key learnings from businesses they describe as at the mature end of the sector, the ones:
- Using social media to make a broad range of decisions
- That have their leadership focused on a vision of social media creating massive positive change, and
- That have a vision that includes social media being used for much, much more than marketing
Here are some thoughts from my read of the paper:
- Integrate social media into operations such as to drive product development or help facilitate after sales service. How often do you search for a solution to a problem with a product on the internet only to find the company only provides a manual that doesn’t really help? The next search result is for a forum where some other poor sod with the same problem who solved it, has the good sense to let other people know about it. More advanced companies have their own forums, monitor other forums and respond through those same channels.
- Monitoring social media is an obvious must, however, there also should be a periodic high level review of the data. Trends, repetition, absence of reference are all items that may tell a story that needs to be acted on.
- Senior management must get involved. It can’t just be outsourced to those in the organisation who use and like social media. It requires leadership to ensure the best results. That doesn’t mean you have to be on Twitter like Rupert Murdoch.
- Facilitate how social media drives talent development. Use social media to allow staff to express themselves, share knowledge and cultivate a strong, close-knit community.
There are lots of great examples in this paper of how companies have utilised social media to drive change. I encourage you not to sit back and watch, get in and be part of it as the way we work continues to evolve.