The results are in. Top 2 reasons businesses want to go social.

November 13, 2012

Two weeks ago, we hosted a webcast “Gamifying Social Collaboration” to discuss innovative social and gamification strategies that drive employee and customer engagement. We asked our 250+ attendees this question:

Too often, we’ve come across prospects and clients who want to ‘do’ social for the sake of doing social. They think it means launching corporate social accounts and populating them with press releases and the occasional blog.

I was surprised to find an atypical audience on the webcast. They held a much broader vision for social technologies in business. The two top priorities, according to our live poll, were to increase employee productivity and to get closer to customers.

Increased Employee Productivity

Increased employee productivity occurs when you have a happy and connected workforce.

  1. Happy employees work harder because they are motivated by the company culture, environment, and vision. The Hay Group has shown that engaged employees generate 43% more revenue than disengaged ones.
  2. Connected employees are able to provide superior support to customers and solve business problems faster by being able to easily tap into an internal knowledge base—their coworkers!

Your key people—high-skill workers, including managers and professionals—are spending 28% of their workdays reading and responding to email and 19% of their time trying to track down information.

“And these are your most expensive employees, and the ones you count on to do more than routine work; they're supposed to be innovating, figuring out how to improve business processes, and generally building you a better mousetrap — not wading through e-mail.” -Social Media's Productivity Payoff, HBR

So how does Social play a role? The use of social technologies can cut these activities down by 20-25%. An internal social network also promotes employee engagement in the ‘happy’ sense—a feeling of belonging and being a part of a shared mission.

Getting closer to customers

Our webcast discussed strategies to increase collaboration across organizational teams. But, your customers do not care about departmental silos. That’s why these new social channels are exploding. Customers are trying to navigate around your silos.

Clearly, social networks provide lots of new opportunities for getting closer to customers—and it’s about choosing the right channels, adding value, and building community. #OldNews.

At Bluewolf, we innovated early to keep our dispersed workforce and clients connected. As a professional services firm, we saw a wealth of knowledge within our company that could be a resource for lead generation and industry thought leadership. The trick was to figure out how to tap into that knowledge and get it in front of clients and prospects.

This may be unique to Bluewolf, but think about your workforce as your most motivated assets and company fans that can spread your message across the social web. Marcus Nelson, founder of Addvocate, touched on these ideas in the webcast. Put simply: people don’t like talking to logos. And your social team (if you have one) doesn’t have all the answers. Customers want to talk to employees. And your employees are often incentivized on their own for social-sharing (after all, we are social creatures!). Maybe they don’t know what to say or fear saying the wrong thing, but a good start is having those collaborative tools and content sharing systems in place.

Of course, one mantra we have at Bluewolf is that technology is an enabler—not an end state. Social technology is no different. Companies must shift their cultures to encourage opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

For more discussion around these topics, check out our webcast here.

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