Social Business: Social Media Is Changing Business Forever

By | Jan 31, 2012
Topic: CRM/ERP

Students at San Jose State University are now getting real-world experience using social media to help transform a business, showing just how fast social media has exploded into the business world. This trend is only likely to grow in the coming years as businesses begin to realize the benefits of integrating social networking within their existing corporate structure.

Social Business Advances

It wasn't long ago when social media was something that IT managers and C-level executives were trying to get out of the business world, so their employees could focus on their jobs again. Now, the true power of a connected world is better understood and most businesses are adopting social networking strategies to further their bottom line.

As this CIO article describes, the benefits of social networking are even making their way into business schools. A group of students from San Jose State University went to Group Business Software, at the behest of its partner IBM, in order to study how the company could better embrace social business. The students identified ways that the company could use the cloud to improve its internal collaboration and connect with suppliers.

Even large enterprises are getting in on the act, as this ZDNet article discusses. Executives from large businesses reported seeing better productivity, better customer satisfaction, easier access to internal experts, more access to collected knowledge and even lower travel and communication costs.

Of course, there are still some stumbling blocks in social media adoption. New technology is always a little confusing at first, and the benefits may be difficult to pin down to actual numbers, leaving executives wary about spending the capital to initiate a solution. However, as more and more businesses report that a social solution revolutionized their operations, companies that are not willing to consider harnessing social networking risk getting left behind.

Maximizing Social Media

Social media, at least in the business realm, comes in two flavors, both of which can help midsize businesses realize economic gains through better customer relationship management and better business synergy.

The first type of business social media involves using social networking within the organization, allowing disparate centers within the company to have a constant stream of information moving between them. This process makes it much easier for people to seek out subject matter experts and allows different areas of the business to remain on the same page. It also provides a pre-made channel for intra-business communication, like an IT help desk. This style of social networking is ideal for midsize businesses because they generally have just enough employees to have different areas of the business be segmented from each other.

The second form of business social media is a way to integrate your CRM software with consumer-grade social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, allowing customers to contact your company through these channels while still receiving the same quality of care they would receive from a telephone call. This type of CRM integration is quickly becoming the standard for the industry, and soon customers may start to expect a full-service customer service portal to be available from a variety of social media outlets.

IBM Solution CRM

With CRM enhancements from IBM, midsize businesses can gain faster insights, enable real-time decision-making and deliver customized experiences that increase customer loyalty and attract new customers.

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