(PRWEB) April 26, 2013
As social technology moves forward, businesses need to adapt to this evolving trend and turn their businesses into social ones. In order to do that, business managers first need to understand five crucial points about social media in order to use it efficiently within the realm of their organizations.
1. Balancing gains against risks:
Social technology is moving forward and here to stay; companies that want to take their businesses one step ahead need to participate in this social revolution before they end up lagging behind their competitors. Social media offers several business opportunities, including communication, collaboration, communities and collective intelligence opportunities. Each of these business opportunities can be used both externally, between a company and other nodes of the business such as customers or suppliers, and internally, within a company itself. Social media also brings risks, such as reputation or security issues. However, social media opportunities far outweigh its risks, thus choosing not to go ahead with social media because of possible risks is a counter-productive strategy. Banning or restricting social media in the workplace is not an effective strategy either as employees can now find ways to circumvent these policies, through tools like mobile technology for instance. Executives thus need to think forward about their industries and embrace technologies that can help them gain competitive advantage over other industry players.
2. Aligning social media goals with business goals:
The main question that executives need to ask themselves is: how can social media help you achieve your more general business ones? Implementing social media without a properly thought-out plan can bring more risks than opportunities, or simply lead the company to waste valuable time. Executives need to develop a sound strategy to incorporate social media within the realm of their organizations; one that will serve to answer business needs rather than simply incorporate Facebook or twitter within the company’s website. Social media hence needs to be integrated in a step-by-step process, within a carefully devised plan, to help reach business goals while mitigate risks that may come along the way. Strategy is key as going enthusiastically in the wrong direction is the biggest trap with social media; thus executives need to make sure the social media project is supported by a clear perspective, along the lines of the company’s general business objectives.
3. Actively supporting the project
Implementing social media needs to be done as much at the managerial level as it needs to be done at the lower levels of the organization. A business will not move forward by simply hiring a social media admin who does not have proper knowledge of the business, industry and the general vision of the company. It is thus very important for executives to be actively involved in the social media project, by creating a social media vision for the company and supporting social media investment throughout the project’s implementation, rather than looking at it from afar. When developing a social media strategy, executives need to bring in their knowledge of the business as well as the long-term vision they have for the future of the company. Social media needs to be incorporated within the DNA of the organization in order to be successful, from the top to the bottom. It is thus crucial for executives to adopt the right mindset that will help drive the whole project forward for the entire organization.
4. Including training:
Developing a social media training program for your employees will, firstly, serve to create a common language for everyone to communicate with in regards to what social media is and what it can achieve of the organization. A common language will allow those who do not know as much about social media to participate in the discussion as well, rather than be shadowed by those who have more knowledge of it. Everyone’s involvement is crucial if the social media project is to answer the organization’s general business goals; having only a few in the marketing department participate, for instance, will not be as helpful as having all departments share their ideas. Secondly, putting a training program in place will help come across different aspects and issues that may not have arisen previously and that will allow a more carefully-developed social media strategy to take shape. Preparation is key to both reduce risks and optimize benefits as much as possible and social media training can be a very good way to go about the preparation phase.
5. Thinking about culture
Organizational culture can either be impeding on the use of social technology within your business, or, on the contrary, it can be a constructive catalyst. Organizational culture typically falls between a closed to open continuum, and having a culture at either one of the extremes can be damaging to the company. A closed company culture will not help social media thrive as a strategic tool, and an overly open culture might lead to information leak and company vulnerability. Organizational culture needs to be open for social media to become a tool for progress, and at the same time, it needs to be within a regulated framework so that social media use is conducive to growth. Thus, making sure organizational culture is open within a defined cultural framework is the first step for executives to take before endeavoring in a social media project.
To conclude, these five crucial points will allow business managers to develop a sound social media plan in order to take their organizations one step ahead of their competitors. Social media is here to stay, thus it is important to incorporate it within your business now if you do not want to end up lagging behind everyone else tomorrow.