Enterprise social media networks to rise

Telsyte research found organisations are using social media for both internal collaboration and external marketing

More than 30 per cent of businesses are replacing company URLs with social media links on advertising material, while more than 15 per cent of CIOs are looking to deploy an enterprise social network in the near future, according to research by Telsyte.

Telsyte said this is being driven by the strong consumer uptake of social media.

Telsyte senior analyst Rodney Gedda told Computerworld Australia that organisations are primarily using social media to connect internally to facilitate open communication and also for external marketing.

“Social networks promote better collaboration but they are also popular with company marketing departments who use them as channels to get closer to customers. Company news, offers and customer feedback are all being facilitated by public social networks which are another channel alongside traditional forms of marketing and online applications,” Gedda said.

Telsyte found companies are deploying enterprise social media applications in on-premise and software-as-a-service applications. These networks can help resolve privacy and security concerns as information in enterprise social networks is only available to those within the organisation.

On the consumer social media front, several companies, such as Old Spice, have managed to find success, whether through increased brand awareness or financial success. The success of using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, are now being measured alongside traditional marketing, according to Gedda.

“If companies post more offers and ‘check-in’ deals through social channels then the correlation between social media and the bottom line becomes tangible,” Gedda said.

However, Telsyte’s Australian Enterprise Social Media Study 2012 report, which surveyed more than 800 CIOs and business leaders, found only a third of companies had a social media policy. About 70 per cent allow social media for personal use to educate staff on how it could be used in the workplace.

Companies may soon need to formulate a more solid social media policy, though - Telsyte found customer interaction through social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are growing.

“Companies that promote their online presence through Facebook and Twitter are connecting with a demographic known to spend a lot of their time online, but they need to tread carefully to ensure they don’t erode their own online channels in the process,” Gedda said.

He believes it is now up to IT and marketing managers to justify the financial spend on enterprise social media networks.

“IT and marketing leaders should investigate the various ways social media can be used – from marketing to collaboration – to ensure they are not left wondering why there is so much activity around social networks and none on their established infrastructure,” he said.

“Companies should adopt social media as a new channel, but also avoid tossing out their own brand channels like a website and customer forums.”

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Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU