Putting Social to Work for Your Business, Part 5: Enable Collaboration and Relationships

By Matt Foulger • 1 year ago • 8 Comments

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“Enable Collaboration and Relationships” is an excerpt from the white paper, “Putting Social to Work for your Business – A Guide to Organizational Models for Scaling Social.” In this portion, we look at the relationship between internal social networks and external social networks – highlighting the importance of visible leadership and closing the trust gap with customers. To view the paper in its entirety, download below.


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Enable Collaboration and Relationships

“To connect with the new  generation of employees,” one CEO acknowledged,  “we will need to change communication methods.  We are the e-mail generation; they are the social  network generation.” Executives seem to be listening. IBM’s worldwide survey of 1700 CEOs reveals that business leaders see customer centricity and employee engagement as integral aspects of the same transformative mission. According to the report’s authors, CEOs now see technology primarily as an “enabler of collaboration and relationships”. Furthermore, they see a need for internal collaboration tools that their workers can relate to. “To connect with the new generation of employees,” one CEO acknowledged, “we will need to change communication methods. We are the e-mail generation; they are the social network generation.”

If CEOs take to social media, they can not only close the trust gap with customers, but also engage employees. A large majority of employee respondents to BRANDfog’s 2012 CEO, Social Media & Leadership Survey believe that CEOs can use social media channels to build better connections with customers (89%) and employees (85%). Their visible leadership is critical to the success of social initiatives, whether customer-facing or internal.

Putting social to work

Social media use for internal collaboration engages employees and makes them feel like true stakeholders in the brand that management would like them to promote. Therefore, any strategy for employee advocacy on external networks should take into account how the psychological conditions for advocacy are created on internal networks. Internal networks also directly support external employee messaging. For example, collaborative tools such as Yammer and HootSuite Conversations amplify employees’ reach and impact on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

This dovetailing of internal and external social tools is accelerating the creation of the “extended enterprise”, a business with blurry organizational boundaries. Networking technologies not only bring employees closer to customers, but connect them to business contacts in the enterprise’s extended value chain, including suppliers, vendors and agencies. In this light, the distinction between business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing starts to recede, and  employee advocacy looks a lot like internal branding. Organizational permeability presents challenges and opportunities that each enterprise has to weigh as it formulates a social strategy.

Want to read the rest of the white paper? Download ‘Putting Social to Work for your Business.’

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Author: Matt Foulger

Matt Foulger has written 52 posts for the HootSource blog..

Matt is an Enterprise Marketing Writer at HootSuite. He writes research reports and features for the HootSuite blog.

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6 comments
Noah Hernandez
Noah Hernandez

This is what we need in a company.. And communication is really important! I can't wait for episode 6.

Matt Foulger
Matt Foulger

Thanks, Noah! Part 6 will hit the blog some time this week. You can always download the whitepaper in its entirety here so you can read it in PDF form and share it with colleagues.

Ashley Hoober
Ashley Hoober

I love the white papers Matt, really helps selling these ideas to my boss. As well the quote from the CEO on how communication must change. Thanks a lot for this.

Ash

Matt Foulger
Matt Foulger

Thanks, Ashley. I think business leaders have a huge opportunity to connect with workers and customers through social technology, in big companies and small ones, too. Good luck with your boss!

Mike Smith
Mike Smith

The world of social media is certainly changing at a fast rate of knots. One wonders where it's going to take us. I see advantage and dis advantages between employers and employees, on the one hand you have the employer who can now communicate far better than ever before, but on the other hand with encouraging employees to use social media will be extended into playing rather than work. Some where a balance needs to be found.

qlwik
qlwik

Very nice series, waiting for part 6 :P

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