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Technology changes so rapidly it can be hard to stay up to date.  Social networking sites, mobile and media outlets are advancing more each day. New cloud computing offerings allow you to store your files and many operating systems are already transferred on the cloud.  Wireless technology is increasing and changing the way we do business, education, health, and politics.

But what is the major effect on businesses?  Which ones are affected the most?  MIT recently partnered with Deloitte to survey business managers from 115 countries and 24 different industries.  Overall, 3,478 managers responded.
What they found was an overwhelming support for social business.  Over half of the respondents said they thought the social aspect is important to their own business. Most of them use marketing, sales and customer service to increase social business.  However, even though social business is important, managers feel there is a lacking in leadership.  More specifically, there is no leadership measuring social business.  No metrics are in place because no one knows or even believes they should measure their social business use.
In the support for social business, many smaller companies use social software to make their business seem larger than it actually is.  On the flipside, large corporations like McDonalds use social software to make them seem less cold and distant to their consumers.
But why use social software in your business?  Well, most experts believe it increases collaboration and communication across industries and partners.  The survey takers in the MIT study were asked to rank their reasons for using social business software.  The top reason was to network with industry partners and professionals.  Secondly, they think social business allows them to work more effectively and voice their opinions.
The media and tech industry managers view themselves as open to change and innovation more than other industries.  Managers are finding social business outlets are improving their relationships with their consumers.  Social business is helping them create virtual communities, developing new ways of communication, monitoring online communities, and creating engagement through online contests, coupons, and specials.
Think you want to incorporate social business in your practices?  Just what are the steps?  The MIT report suggests: 

  1. Create and communicate your vision for a social strategy in your business
  2. Create a large awareness of social business software if you are a highly regulated business
  3. Are there issues being solved by social business in your industry?  How can you apply these solutions to your business?
  4. Make sure there are enough resources to start the social business and keep it running.
  5. Then, measure the results, not the adoption of social business.  Adoption can give you misleading results of implementing the social software.  Instead, measure if it makes your business more effective.

Don’t be too afraid to start incorporating social business in your practices.  Sure it keeps updating every day, but don’t underestimate how long it may take to create your plan and implement it without any kinks.  You may be surprised.