A necessary component
I have seen many quotes in the past year about the importance of organizations choosing to participate in social media tools and technologies. But, in recent months, I’ve watched that language change from suggesting companies should choose to participate in social media to suggesting that organizations no longer have a choice.
A recent example is this quote from Eric Schurr, Vice President of Marketing and Direct Sales for Awareness Inc.:
Integrating social media into business practices is no longer a nice bonus feature -- it is a critical component of a company's culture, one that helps it become more transparent both internally and to the public.
I could not agree more. Organizations must consider next steps and tackle developing their social media strategy. I firmly believe that organizations that facilitate participation in social media and community will be the ones that stay competitive as both a business and an employer.
Building relationships is a must
Connecting people – that’s what it’s all about. A community, a true community, should serve as a catalyst for connecting people. These connections provide all within the community a better understanding of and access to the collective expertise among their peers, as well as the ability to tap into previously unknown resources. Facilitating these connections also leads to unforeseen process and productivity improvements because folks have access to the information they need in real-time. These individuals feel a sense of community when they are connected and are able to make personal contributions.
I cannot think of a time during my 20 years at EMC when I felt more informed, involved, and confident in myself and the business before EMC|ONE. ~EMC|ONE User
Great collaboration happens
You’ve heard the old saying “the more the merrier” and I think it applies well to online communities. There’s no reason that everyone in a company, regardless of role, title, organizational focus, etc., can’t contribute insights to the conversation. The more people that come together, the more ideas are generated, and the more great collaboration happens. With social media tools, each person at a company has a unique opportunity to provide their unique perspective on any number of topics, issues, or requests for suggestions and feedback. All of this discussing and collaborating together leads to an invaluable online, searchable information resource for all of the people who participate.
No other corporate resource gives me more value than EMC|ONE. I feel connected with what is going on, I understand our direction, and I get great satisfaction from contributing to people and initiatives across the organization that before I didn’t even know existed. ~EMC|ONE User
It’s all good, but it’s not all business
My personal opinion is that there is a common mistake that a lot of organizations tend to make – they want to offer their employees a community or social media toolset, but do not want any of the conversations to be social. It’s a business tool, after all. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - we are inherently social creatures, and we thrive on meaningful connections with other people. Organizations that realize that these connections are important to their employees, as well as their customers and partners, will reap the rewards of these relationships and the satisfaction and benefits they bring to the extended community.
This quote from an EMC|ONE user sums it up best:
There has been no single resource which has added as much value to me, my customer messaging, and my understanding of EMC as EMC|ONE. I am part of the silent majority, who rarely makes the time to post, but gains tremendous value from this fantastic glimpse into the breadth of EMC.
It may not be a choice any longer, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing.