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How to Make Social Media Collaboration Deliver

We keep hearing that 2012 is going to the year of the social enterprise. If this is going to be the case, then we’re going to need all the help we can get making social media collaboration work for organizations. It’s one thing for corporations to say that they embrace Facebook, Twitter, Google +, but actually corralling these tools and making them work is an entirely different animal.

So, the million dollar question: How do we get social media collaboration to deliver? Part of the problem with this question is that social media is such a new industry. If 2012 is to be the year of the social enterprise, 2011 was the year that corporations realized social was here to stay. I Googled this subject out of curiosity. After checking out a couple results, I came across an interesting post by Adam Honig entitled Team Collaboration Secrets: Make Social Media Deliver. Sounds promising, no? Turns out Honig outlines some best practices that he noticed really help teams make social tools work.

Share Knowledge

The self-service forum: this is something most technology companies have perfected. Have a problem and need an answer immediately, no problem-o. Check out the company’s forum, or Wiki and odds are that someone else has either: a) previously asked this question and has posted a response or b) someone else on the forum can quickly give you a hand and respond to your specific question. But why not take it to the next level? Honig suggests using collaboration tools “to enable employee – and where relevant, customers – to contribute knowledge on products, accounts, cases, and opportunities using social technology, and then tie this information back into internal documentation and processes to make them even better.” This information is an invaluable asset for sales, marketing and product teams.

Enable Account Teams to Collaborate Easier

When analyzing your collaboration capabilities it’s important to look at the big picture. All too often we tend to only focus on the intra-team dynamic. Honing points out that it’s important to think of the bigger picture “meaning how marketing, sales and service groups – not to mention HR, finance, quality and manufacturing – can collaborate with each other”. Tools like Yammer, Chatter and Jive are great ways to help foster cross – department collaboration. This allows people to quickly bounce questions off others in differing departments in real time, keeping everyone informed with up to the minute data.

Escalate Problem Cases

How can collaboration help with service and support? Honig suggests considering “using social media tools to automatically escalate cases that aren’t being resolved in a specific time frame or meeting specific quality”. Being able to post quickly post questions pertaining to customer support queries and receive responses helps expedite solving those trickier issues. For example these tools can help support reps quickly wrap up cases “while still on the phone with customers, without themselves having to wait in a phone queue to speak with their manager” leading to happier customers and higher customer satisfaction scores.

Define business Goals 1st, Technology 2nd

Of course, when looking at collaboration it’s important to “first define explicit business goals for each team collaboration best practice”. Honig points out that “By focusing on these outcomes, and then putting the right techniques and technology in place to achieve them, you’ll ensure that your approach to team collaboration results in tangible – and measurable – increases across your marketing, sales and service programs, including the customer experience.”

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