Recently Juniper Networks hosted two social media workshops in Europe for its partners in the UK and Sweden. After attending the UK session, which was hosted by Luanne Tierney, it sprung to mind that although there is still a lot of buzz around social media, most businesses are not truly utilising it. I hope that the following piece on social business may provoke you to take action within your organisation and start your own social business journey.
Just as email has become a ubiquitous business tool so will social media in the coming years, therefore it is imperative that businesses take notice of social media. When I first started my digital career at Hyundai back in 1997, I was the only person within the organisation that had an email account and access to the Internet. Gradually over time more people were gained access and of course, nowadays working without connectivity is unthinkable. To a large extent social media is following this same pattern within organisations, where only certain people in certain functions are encouraged, or in fact provided, with access to use social channels in their every day work. Without full social media access for all employees within an organisation you can’t expect to develop a social business. Today we see a lot of organisations blocking the use of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter within the corporate network. This dictatorial attitude forces employees to use other methods of accessing these sites, bypassing the secure corporate network and accessing social media via their own tablets or mobile devices. It is far better for an organisation to instil social media best practice and governance than it is to demonise social media and drive employees off the network.
Businesses need to realise that social media goes well beyond brand and into engagement with key communities-- that it means empowering employees to use social media in their every day roles to influence, engage and join in conversations about business needs and opportunities. This cumulative engagement that builds over time is what leads to a truly social business.
It is clear that doing what’s always been done will not lead to social business breakthroughs. Businesses should ultimately look to achieve being a social business within three to five years, which means starting now. The first step is to look at social media as a new communication channel, which opens up new opportunities for businesses. Gone are the days where marketing is used in the traditional sense, and classed as a cost centre function. Marketing now needs to prove itself and show return on investment, a contribution to the bottom line and add value to sales pipeline. Social marketing allows for greater engagement in the buyers journey along with assisting the humanisation of brands. Next step is empowering your employees to be your brand advocates and utilise the social channels in their everyday work. Finally encourage your customers to actively be social with you and engage and leverage your content for their benefit.
Plenty of research has taken place over the years that says people don’t form relationships with brands, they form relationships with people. Social media accelerates the formation and depth of relationships by enabling quicker communication and sharing amongst their individual networks. If your employees are not allowed to use the social channels in their every day work then they are limiting their marketing effectiveness in this fast changing social world.
So, what are you waiting for? Make a plan to pilot social media within your organisation. It is easy to get started for Juniper’s partners; first check out the new education programme, then go to the Juniper’s partner marketing concierge to watch the social media videos and download the latest campaign material. Enjoy and good luck!
I have been in the networking industry for over 30 years: PBXs, SNA, Muxes, ATM, routers, switches, optical - I've seen it all. Eleven years in the US, over 20 in Europe, at companies like AT&T, IBM, Bay Networks, Nortel Networks and Dimension Data. Since 2007 my focus has been on services at Juniper: support services, professional services, service automation. Our market is characterized by amazing technological innovations, but technology is no use if you cannot get it to work and keep it working. That is why services are so exciting: this is where the technology moves out of the glossy brochures and into the real world!
For more about me, go to my LinkedIn profile: http://fr.linkedin.com/pub/joe-robertson/0/4a/34a
Justin has held a variety of positions at Alternative Networks since 1997 including responsibilities for running sales, product management, marketing, and training functions.
More recently he has been incubating a Wide Area Network division, and running cross sales in the enterprise sales division following an acquisition.
Justin Scopaz is senior director of Juniper Networks’ Worldwide Distribution organization. In this role, he is leading a global team driving worldwide distribution strategy, sales, and operations.
Prior to Juniper, Scopaz spent nearly two decades at Ingram Micro in a variety of senior leadership positions. Most recently, he served as vice president and general manager of Ingram Micro’s Data Capture and Physical Security business units. He also had responsibility for major national partners.
Based in Orange County, California, Scopaz is involved in both private and charitable organizations. He holds a B.A. in Business Management from California State University.
Zoe Sands is Head of Digital Marketing at Juniper Networks and is responsible for digital marketing and social media across EMEA. She is an experienced Digital Marketer since 1997 with PRINCE2 practitioner status, during this period Zoe has successfully launched many new online innovations for Juniper Networks, Cisco, Dialogic, the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Hyundai, including content managed and e-commerce based websites to integrated social media programmes. She has International exposure running projects globally, regionally and at a country level.
Zoe’s approach is to create an environment where those around her can share her passion for the Internet and the opportunities it presents. She says sharing knowledge, championing and communicating the benefits of digital capabilities enhances both the user experience and offers additional online communication channels and business opportunities. Zoe has a blog ‘Learning and sharing...’ to share her experience of all things online marketing, social media, chat online, SEO, SEM and mobile related content. You connect with Zoe via LinkedIn or find her on Twitter: @zoe9 and @ZoeSands.
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