Written by: David Pennington
Business success hinges on one or more of the following aspirations: increasing revenue, driving customer loyalty and identifying new business opportunities. These days everyone is looking for the silver bullet to achieve success. For years, we have been focusing on the business benefits of increasing productivity, but let’s face it: your people can be communicating, collaborating and generally doing lots of things faster, but that doesn’t guarantee they are the right things.
Social technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent in daily personal and professional life. Social technologies provide simple collaboration for employees and new means of understanding and interacting with customers. Many, if not most, companies are now talking about social media functionality as an enterprise tool, supplementing email, file shares, and other established processes for internal company conversations as well as for customer interaction—particularly as new, tech-expectant workers join the labor force.
But let’s put this technology wave in perspective. Telephone has not replaced face-to-face meetings; email has not replaced telephone; social technologies are yet another means for people to connect and interact. Your customers expect flexibility in the way they engage with you, whether that is via the web, face-to-face, phone, email…and now social.
Some people would have you believe that social technologies alone will guarantee the success that businesses seek. The reality is: social for the sake of being social is just noise without context. Many executives view social technologies as distractions rather than enablers for this reason. Social is a critical channel; but it’s not a means to an end.
So, what are the business opportunities with social technologies? Social technologies can serve as a catalyst for your business—helping you put your business strategies into action quickly and effectively. Use social to:
- Listen, by monitoring and dissecting social conversations to uncover trends and key influencers.
- Engage, by conducting a dialog with stakeholders to inform, respond and influence.
- Amplify, by utilizing communities to broadcast your message and drive awareness.
- Solve problems, by harvesting and reusing community knowledge and connecting customers to solve problems.
- Innovate, by identifying business opportunities and ideas through crowd-sourcing communities.
- Analyze, by measuring buzz, calculating stakeholder sentiment, and determining impact.
The true power of social technologies is realized when it’s an integral part of the business applications you use every day—supporting truly strategic initiatives like driving a customer-centric organization. We believe that having social tools within the context of your customer information enables you to increase the agility of your business. Our vision goes beyond just a social enterprise – we are defining a connected and forward-looking enterprise: an enterprise that connects its employees, partners, and customers to what they need, in the right context, using the device and channel they prefer.
Post originally written for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/microsoftdynamics/2013/03/11/letting-social-technologies-serve-as-a-catalyst-for-your-business/