As numerous experts and observers have noted, social media has the potential to drastically improve organizations' communications abilities. With Facebook, Twitter and other networks, a firm can engage directly with its customers, clients and members. This can serve a number of purposes. For example, an organization can publicize events and product or service developments on its social pages. Additionally, social media opens up another customer service channel, one which is increasingly in demand.
Further emphasizing the increasing importance of social media for organizations, CMS Wire reported that IBM's latest study of CEO priorities found that while only 15 percent of CEOs currently use social media platforms to directly interact with customers, in five years the number is expected to reach 50 percent.
As social media expert Steve Nicholls recently highlighted, however, there is another major advantage to the medium that many firms overlook. Social media, he argued, can significantly improve internal communications within an organization.
Speaking to Daily Business Buzz, Nicholls argued that by using social media internally, an organization or association has the potential to significantly improve its information sharing capabilities. According to Nicholls, this is an area that many firms struggle with, but it is extremely important to the overall success of the organization.
One way he recommended for organizations to leverage social media to improve information sharing is via a do-it-yourself Wiki platform. By developing an organization-specific wiki, the firm can create a central resource for all of its employees and partners to contribute to and benefit from.
Another benefit that organizations may reap from utilizing social media internally is strengthening the firm's sense of community. Building a community with an organization can be a difficult task, as many firms are rigidly segmented into various departments. Workers may rarely, if ever, interact with members of other sections. If such is the case, workers may feel isolated and will therefore never develop strong ties to their organization. This can lead to high turnover, which is a significant drain on the firm.
With social media, an organization can strive to better connect its workers through discussions, messages and groups, thereby fostering a greater sense of community.
In order to fully take advantage of the possibilities of social media, though, it can be extremely useful for associations and nonprofit organizations to invest in association membership management software. Such a program can help firms communicate with members while keeping collected data organized.