Social Business: How Social Media has changed Business as we know it!
With the heightened excitement of the Facebook IPO last Friday, the largest ever recorded by a technology company, many people have been left wondering, How long will this Social Media bubble last? For the last few years, we have seen the impact of Social Media more so from the consumer side. But have we ever thought of the impact Social Media might have within a company?
Recently, I came across an article about how Red Robin, the gourmet burger chain, has implemented an internal social network that mimics Facebook in order to teach mangers all across the country everything they need to know about implementing new items on to the menu. To show the effect of this, we have to look at how things were done prior to technology like social media.
Pre Social Media
Before the implementation of the web inside companies, Red Robin had to send out all of its information in the form of written material to all of its 400+ managers across the country. In order to get feedback, executives used to have to make their rounds across the country sporadically visiting all of the stores before coming up with changes to make their customers happy. This used to take anywhere form 6 months to a year for changes to be made and implemented.
Social Media Today
With the advent of technologies such as Social Media and Social Networks within companies, this response time has been drastically cut. Now Executives at Red Robin can make changes to their menu pretty quickly and can see the results happen within weeks or even days instead of waiting 6 months to a year. By allowing executives and managers to communicate freely within this network, they were able to create recipes, menu changes, and even videos to help managers learn what is necessary to implement such changes quickly and efficiently. By setting up an internal network, managers from across the country were able to input all customer feedback into the system and then have open discussions with executives to figure out trouble patterns and ways to fix them effectively.
Other Uses for Social Media
This is just one example of how companies are turning toward social media for collaboration. Beyond the use of Facebook and Twitter as advertising solutions, many companies are looking into using internal social networks like Yammer to build problem-solving teams, share information faster and more efficiently with employees, bring new ideas to market faster, and help redesign internal company software in an easy-to-learn style.
Impact of Social Media on Business
In a recent study conducted by McKinsey & Co, “Nearly 90% of big companies claimed to have been able to see at least one measurable business benefit from social media.” According to Michael Chui, senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute, “Heavy use of social tools has a statistically significant correlation to profitability.” Though it is still early to tell, only 3% of respondents claimed to have used social business tools for all three major uses. These uses are: Reaching customers, connecting employees and coordinating with suppliers.
As you can see, Social Media isn’t just all about sharing photos and opinions. It can actually help businesses grow in multiple ways, from educating consumers on products and services, to promoting the same products and services to consumers, to helping in the development of those products and services internally. It also can be used to organize and promote discussions internally and to help companies communicate effectively and efficiently in order to help streamline inter-department actions. Look for more and more companies in the near future take advantage of social media both internally and externally.
Let us know in the comments section how your company uses Social Media, whether it be internally or externally!