Why you need to weave social media into your enterprise tech plans

Speak to any business leader, and connecting and collaborating more efficiently will appear near the top of their agenda. Communicate more, and collaborate better, and workforces can flourish, but new digital platforms in the enterprise are changing how organisations manage information, interact with one another and with customers.

Why you need to weave social media into your enterprise tech plans

The explosive growth in the number of applications used in the enterprise mirrors the ongoing proliferation of customer channels. More social media networks and media platforms arise every year, and this is also true for business-communication channels such as Slack, Yammer, Evernote, Dropbox and Workplace by Facebook. Digitally savvy employees are increasingly using easy solutions to meet their needs, both inside and outside the corporate firewall.

The proliferation of powerful consumer-level software has meant employees across the enterprise are turning to social media platforms to communicate and collaborate. Teams are using social media internally and externally to support their objectives, but efforts are at the most departmental level, and increasingly more likely to be on the team level.

Thus data is more fragmented and regularly underused. Unifying social media communication and collaboration efforts will increase the efficiency of employee communication, enable better monitoring, and make larger datasets available for analysis. This is not just the role of the IT department but should be a joined-up effort across the company.

According to Forrester, 25% of employees globally have brought mobile apps into work so they can get their job done effectively. It’s pretty clear: if the company doesn’t provide the best tools, the employees will seek out their own, and frankly, that is a situation that is doomed to fail. This anything-goes style of IT adoption just isn’t workable for most organisations.

Fortunately, some compromises can be made allowing some level of organised chaos. For example, organisations can create a directory of permitted applications and tools that allow for some safe decentralisation without creating security vulnerabilities. This also gives teams the ability to use the newest and best tools and when needed add new applications to the directory.

The elixir is the perfect blend of connectivity both externally with customers, and internally among colleagues. If employees can simultaneously talk to customers via social media, and with each other through collaboration tools such as the Hootsuite-Yammer integration, issues can be rapidly resolved and questions answered within moments. Such tools empower employees to gather and share intelligence, to track success and progress, and to deliver the right response promptly, effectively managing customer relationships. But these tools allow employees to go much further, truly getting to know and understand their audience through “social CRM”.

In today’s social business world, it’s imperative that key customer-facing employees across the enterprise are involved in the conversation, and this is where social CRM tools come in. It’s possible to collate all critical information, contacts, communications, scheduled meetings, Twitter activity and much more into a single record. At the click of a button, colleagues can provide context and keep the whole business informed, providing a more fluid and efficient customer-engagement experience. There’s now the expectation that companies will provide an on-demand, tailored experience to their clients, and that they will be clued up on any past interactions immediately via the “always on” social media channels. The tools are now there to deliver one single seamless approach to managing the customer relationship, owning and maintaining thousands of relationships.

The key is to build a social media infrastructure that supports a broad ecosystem of other technologies or apps. In this way, teams can integrate multiple tools and align efforts across different functions, creating a more rounded approach to integrating social media into the enterprise. Simultaneously, by investing in a social-relationship platform, businesses are increasing their team’s capacity to manage ever-more-critical customer relationships.

Melanie Dichtl is senior marketing manager Northern Europe & EMEA for Hootsuite.

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