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Ready or Not, it’s Time for Businesses to Get Social

Enterprise social networking has been one of the most profound innovations to sweep the business world. Social networking itself now accounts for around 20% of all Internet traffic according to ComScore, which is a huge increase considering it was virtually zero five years ago.

But this trend isn’t without its problems.

Gartner has found that only 10% of social collaboration initiatives work – the main issue being finding a good incentive to get all employees using the tools. Most are used to email, so it’s easier to stick with that than invest time in learning something new. The crux is that social tools are only really useful if everybody is using them, otherwise people begin to miss messages and productivity decreases.

The right incentive will vary from business to business, but the payoff of having everybody on the same page is worth the time and effort.

With this in mind, here are some ways you can innovate the way you communicate!

Social Networking

Outside of work people use Facebook and Twitter to communicate, while in the office more traditional methods of communication are often used: emails, meetings and conference calls. While these mediums are an essential part of running a business, there is a lot that can be achieved through the use of enterprise social networks.

Enterprise platforms work just like traditional social networks, but are designed with business in mind. Yammer and Chatter, for example, both have a home feed similar to Facebook, allowing employees to follow each other’s updates and post messages to the whole company in one go.

Once these tools are in place, the next step is to look at another social way of working.

Social Collaboration

Social collaboration tools allow employees to work on products together remotely, share ideas and record progress.

One good example is Mindjet’s own mind-mapping software. The platform allows multiple users to edit in real-time in the cloud, and is ideal for getting an overview of a project. Similarly, Mindjet’s Tasks app allows users to designate themselves and others tasks, follow the status of them, or the project as a whole, while on the go.

Digital creative agency Zeta uses Mindjet when building websites for its clients. It uses the mind-mapping tool to share ideas amongst the team, get a holistic overview of a project, and see what needs work and when it needs to be done for.

A Social Enterprise

So how do you get people to get behind these new tools? The first thing is to spell out the benefits and keep repeating them – eventually the message will get through. Secondly, designate a “super group” from different areas of the business whose job it is to champion your new tool and encourage people to join. Finally, persist with whatever you do. People won’t change their habits overnight, but if you keep the momentum up, people will come round to it.

By combining social networking tools with social collaboration, businesses can dramatically change the way they work. Social networking means saving megabytes of crucial inbox room while social collaboration saves the time-consuming task of sending documents back and forth. When using both of these together, a business really can turn in to a truly social enterprise.

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