Just last night I was chatting over friendly cocktails with a group of amazingly intelligent women when I realized one of the women was looking at me like I had two heads. Her contribution to the conversation went like this, "I am a very private person. I realize some day I'll have to understand this social media space, but ..."
The day for people and organizations to start understanding this space, if they haven't made the move yet, may well be today.
Today is Social Media Day, as declared by many cities, and enthusiastically cheered on by many professionals who believe in its power and impact. An example: my former company, EMC, made public today a new animated video they put together for employees to help convey what social media is, and illustrate how to participate for the benefit of the company. Brilliant.
Those who participate in social media for business today liken social media to the Internet in the mid- to late-1990s. The web back then, simply became where the marketplace wanted to get their information, and buy their goods.
Following the famous adoption curve, I'd make a stab that if 1992-1998 represented the bulk of the early adopters and early majority of conducting business on the web (where their business was able to be found on the web, as well as in the yellow pages), that 2007-2013 represents the bulk of the early adopters and early majority of conducting business via social media (where companies are having a presence, sharing information, and building two-way relationships with the marketplace using social technology). Again, just a stab -- but the trajectory is indisputable in my book.
The big "so what" here is that the train has left the building and is moving fast to the "also ran" side of the bell curve. In a tough and fast moving information economy, there may be less room for "also rans."
Why Allow Social Media at Work?
Some Risks to Ignoring (ROI) observations.
- If you don't, you risk becoming out of step and irrelevant with the marketplace over the next 5 years. You might as well speak fluent Latin.
- If you don't, you risk an inability to get the best talent. That's right. The external market expects to be able to use every resource available to help them get their job done today. For the savvy talent, that includes making contact with resources, and collecting real-time content via LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, and more. If this talent arrives at your company and finds you don't trust them to use these tools responsibly, they will leave you as soon as they can.
- If you don't, you risk your competitors beating you to where the fish are now swimming.
Why Allow Social Media at Work?
Some Return on Investment (ROI) observations:
- Revenue Growth. Business starts with brand awareness. They can't buy from you if they don't know who you are. Your people, if allowed, will help build your brand awareness. Non quota-carrying personnel will also start bringing in leads, and elevating customer satisfaction.
- Productivity and Profitability. Did you know that the latest research boils employee satisfaction down to having the ability to "make progress" at work? Social media, when deployed internally, is none other than a massive roadblock remover. Have an idea and want to see if it stinks before you elevate it? Post the idea on the internal network. Watch good ideas get into the fast lane, bullet-proofed, and be ready for global prime-time in 1/100th of the time it takes without social media.
- Greatness. The folks behind the FORTUNE MOST ADMIRED COMPANIES list say the one factor that contributes the most to companies being on the list is the ability to excel at cross-silo communication.
"But Social Media Has Risks, Employees Can Act Dumb, and we have Regulatory Concerns."
Yup. Get over it. Figure it out. Red Cross is figuring it out. As is ETrade, Marriott, EMC, Kodak, Ford, SAP, and zillions of other companies. Cisco is even saying that they plan to phase out email for its employees. Guess they're figuring it out -- and pushing the boundary even further.
----------------- Talk Back -------------------
What are your thoughts on the state of social media for work (stage on the adoption cycle?) and the state of adoption of social media at work (allowing and enabling employees to use social media)?
What companies are doing things well?
Is your company in the state of Risk of Ignoring ROI, or Return on Investment ROI?
Thanks for spending time here. Feel free to share.
- Polly Pearson
Pearson Advisory -- specializing in brand relations, employment branding, and reputation management.
@PollyPearson on Twitter. Follow me! I try not to hurt.