Social media is an easy, proactive, real time mass communication approach about connecting people. It provides the strongest tools that ever the management can think to interact with the stakeholders proactively. The popularities of social media and technology of web2.0 forces the managers to rethink the tradition management approach how they can leverage their management and communication approach using the hype of social media and web2.0. To analyze the usability and management approach of Web2.0 technology, we have made a survey on linkedIn friends and the findings are summarized in this article.
We have asked the following questions among linkedIn friends:
- How can we use the social media and the technology of web2.0 on business?
- Which strategy do you think that is important to manage the social media for the business?
We didn’t expect but get enormous ideas about the usability of social media and web2.0 technology and the new management approach for this. We have summarized the key findings which can be realized.
The area of business activities that can be leveraged using concept of social media and the technology web2.0:
- Branding of the products and the businesses: According to the internetworldstats, more than 30% of the world population use internet and its growth from 2000-2011 is 480%. The expected growth within next five years is more than 100%. Demographically 78% of North American, 60% of European, and 24% of Asian people use internet. 44% of total internet users are Asian and is expected to increase more than 100% within next 5 years. Currently total visitors of Wikipedia are 684 Millions and total facebook users are more than 300 Millions. On average in Europe, Asia and North America internet users spent more than 50% of their internet time in social networking. These statistics easily indicates the importance of social media for branding of products and businesses in current world.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: In the last decade, cost of CSR was considered as non profitable part of the organization. One of the main reasons was that the information about contribution of the businesses on social issues was not reached among mess people. Companies were reluctant to do such cost. But the availability of the social media and cost efficient mess communication process forces managers to rethink about CSR. Today managers can consider CSR cost as marketing investment. For example, Google awards $2 Million prize to Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization and others, not only increase their popularity and trust among people but also it used as a massive marketing strategy among Asian and non developing countries. Also Google found a new business model on online educational section.
- Reduction of Hierarchy: Just imagine, GE CEO Jeff Immelt send a birthday wish to a day labor of one of GE manufacturing plant in Vietnam. This will be the best gift to the employee that he/she ever would get. Also it will act among the employees as a chain reaction about their greatness of their super boss. Such a way, company management can think about the virtual reduction of organization hierarchy and build suitable fabricated Web 2.0 platform to cultivate the motivation of the employees. Top management can use this concept to reach to the bottom end employees and increase the loyalty, and the trustiness of the employees about their unreachable bosses.
- Employee Relationship: In last decade, the internationalization of the companies is significant. Companies are involving more and more projects that are involved internationally. One of the key challenges of these internationalized projects is the inter-culture deference which is not only because of the lack of cultural aspects but also luck of chance to make relation among the inter-cultural partners. That can be dramatically improved using the social networks and use of technology Web2.0. Company like Siemens has more than 400 thousand employees. They can fabricate the social networks platform only for their employee and the identified stakeholders. One strategy can be that each Siemens employee must have an account on the fabricated social networking platform. This strategy can imaginably improve the relation among the employees, improve inter-cultural know-how, use as effective and fast communication media.
- Easy flow of know-how: The proposed fabricated social networking platform can be efficiently used for distribution of know-how among the employees and can be used as a platform for the source of finding fast solution for any know-how challenge. One employee of Siemens Bangladesh can raise a technological problem that he/she is facing. Within few minutes he may get the advice for the solution of the problem from other locations. This will not only improve the performance of a particular employee but also significantly reduce the development period and off course the cost.
- Employee Engagement: One customer of Mumbai sent an emergency mail on June 11, 12.00 PM to a service provider which is located in California where the local time was June11, 11.30 AM. The customer expected the answer for his enquiry next day morning July 12, 12.00 from California, USA (when the local time of Mumbai was July 12, 11, 00 AM). The customer of Mumbai would realistically get the answer from California on July 13, Morning. There would be 2 day delay of the response. But if Mumbai customer got the answer within 20 min, just imagine how much satisfy he/she will be. This can be possible by using a company wise fabricated social networking site and make a culture to use it using proper strategy for it. This technology can be used improve the employee engagement and so customer satisfaction.
- Customer Relationship: Use of public social networks and also company wise fabricated stakeholder networking site can significant improve customer satisfaction, and also can be used effectively and efficiently as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool.
These are not the end of activities list that can be leveraged by social media but a lot many more are possible. This article is written from the findings of a small survey on social network friends. So easily we can understand this media can be used for generating marketing report about the feedback on the products and services from the stakeholders and the end users which will be much cost efficient.
According to the feedback of the second question, we have identified key guidelines that need to follow for the proper management to use social media and Web2.0 technology. The process is named as Web2.0 technology management which has seven steps:
- Identification: First, we have to identify the business activities which can be leveraged using Web2.0 technology. Before following the current trend of connecting people using social media, it is most important to know what we want to achieve. For this, the first step would be the identification of business activities on which we can get the benefits by use of this new trend. These activities have to rank according to the business importance and strategic target.
- Selection: After identifying the business activities, depending on the activities and what we want to achieve, the web2.0 technology and social media should be selected. As an example, for branding or marketing of a new product we can use the traditional social media or other internet platforms which are already established. For that we need to know which traditional platforms better fit for the target market where potential customers, stakeholders, clients are connected. For other activities like employee engagement, it may need to fabricate the existing social media according to the target and the process.
- Strategy: In this stage, it is necessary to define the strategy to build, cultivate, and control the processes to use the web2.0 technology. In general following strategies need to be defined: How can we build the fabricated platform to fulfill the requirements? Which process is suitable to communicate through social media? What extend we need to communicate? How open we will be in social media? How can we reinvent the current applied management approach? How can we integrate the new approach into company culture? Which approach will we follow to avoid miscommunication? How can we motivate the employees to follow these processes? How can we train the employee to use these processes?
- Fabrication: In the selection process, we may have identified the requirement of the modification of the existing social platform according to our business need. Here we have answer the key questions how and which extend we will fabricate the social media applications to fulfill our business needs. The fabricated Web 2.0 site allows the internal users, employees, supply chain members, key customers, and others to interact and collaborate as a community. This collaborative medium can enrich the communication among key stakeholders to leverage listen-response process to make better relationship among employees, customers, etc.
- Operational Process: The potential way to interpret, innovate, and create the information so that people can communicate, participate and exchange of information in an effective and non-disruptive way. All the operational processes have to be identified and standardized to maintain the quality of communication approach with the stakeholders and especially with the customers.
- Controlling: Although Web2.0 technology provides most effective way to communicate with mass people in low cost, but also it is important to aware that miscommunication with the stakeholders and the customers can propagate dissatisfaction incrementally which can create a bad reputation enormously. The operational activities have to be controlled periodically. For that, the control process must be defined and execute properly to avoid possible bad outcomes.
- Measurement: Every new approach is designed and cultivated based on the estimation of possible target outcomes. It is important to measure the outcomes whether it fulfill the target or not. The benefits of using social media and Web2.0 technology may be difficult to realize instantly and absolutely in number. For this, it is most important to design realistic outcome measurement criteria and periodically it is necessary to measure and identify the bottlenecks if the target is not fulfilled.
- Adaptation: After controlling the operational process and measuring the outcomes, it may need to modify the applied processes or add on new features in Web 2.0 platform or modify the existing features or approaches. This approach ensures the adaptation of the management process that is required to follow the change in the environment. And it enriches the performance if it is underperformed or enriches the process with the new opportunity.
Analyze the strength and weakness of the internal business environment to use Web 2.0 technology management approach. Also find the opportunity on the new trend and also the possible threats to use social media and Web 2.0 technology. Based on SWOT analysis define the strategies to overcome the challenges on Management 2.0:
- Social media: The New Hybrid Element of the Promotion Mix, Cases | W. Glynn Mangold, David J. Faulds | Jul 15, 2009
- What's Your Social Media Strategy? HBR Articles | H. James Wilson, P.J. Guinan, Salvatore Parise, Bruce D.
- Managing Social Technology By Stages Blog Posts | Josh Bernoff | Jun 03,2011
- Social Networks Will Change Product Innovation Blog Posts | Andrei Hagiu | Mar 18, 201!
Special Thanks to all the friends who have provided their valuable ideas and the advices.