The most unsurprising thing about social media is that it lets organizations extend their reach to other professionals and potential leads in their respective industry through social media marketing. However, the most surprising thing about social media is that you can use it without ever actually connecting with another person – but why would anyone do that when there are excellent ways to engage employees through social media?
When you know how to leverage the social components of new technology in your organization, employees are happier and more productive. Not only are employees on social networks more likely to share their company culture, but they are also more likely to feel valued thanks to improved feedback. Considering that poor coaching and feedback are some of the biggest challenges that managers have, social technology is a very important mobile affordance.
Teaching Crowds by Jon Dron and Terry Anderson (2014) identifies four major ways that communication happens on a social network:
- One-to-one: A single person engaging with one other person. There are a number of instant messaging services like Slack and AIM that use this as a primary communication method.
- One-to-many: A single person or entity broadcasting to many people. On popular sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, this is expressed by “status updates,” which usually means that one person makes a post with the intention of being seen by others.
- Many-to-many: Multi-way interaction between many people. On most social media sites this means group conversations, often on an event or fan page. Additionally, forum-based formats like Reddit uses group conversation and comment voting as its most important feature.
- Many-to-one: The actions or statements of many are aggregated and sent to one person (or company), usually at their request. This happens most often when large corporations reach out to customers by revealing a new product, or when an influencer asks for opinions.
A survey by McKinsey & Company showed that in 2011, 40 percent of participating companies had an active blog or social media account. Paired with the increased adoption rates of social technologies and the consistency of benefits over time, now is as good a time as any to use this affordance in your organization. While all social technologies are networked, not all networked technologies are primarily social. Social technology has a larger focus on the people using them rather than the technology itself. This includes employees and customers.
Posts, comments, and live chat on social media will enable new barriers to be broken. Is your manager in an office two floors up and three doors away? Try sending him an instant message so neither of you have to leave your desk. If you are worried that a number of employees have missed a meeting invitation, then try posting a status update letting everyone know about the meeting. Are you the one who missed the meeting? Post a status update telling everyone that (totally true) story about your car battery dying on the way to work. Of course, you’d send an email right after so it is on file.
Now imagine that interactions like this could happen in your organization. Sites like Yammer let employees chat about different topics and takes an intuitive, Facebook-like approach. Gearing it toward the enterprise means that those who do use it will know what type of content to expect and what sorts of interactions they can have.
When you combine social technologies with the other clusters of mobile affordances in the CHAMPIONS framework, real interactions like these are always in reach.
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