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The future of social business

Since brand marketers’ realisation of how social media can be used beyond the function of friends maintaining their online social circles, social media as a marketing tool has been rapidly evolving. The conversation brands should be having today is not about why they should invest in social media, but how they must use it on a company level that helps achieve the company’s overall business objectives.

As we’ve seen in the modern world of social media connectivity, Malaysia is one of the most socially engaged markets, with high level of connectivity and digital media consumption. Recent research has indicated that 62% of Internet users in Malaysia access social media networks daily, compared to 42% globally[1].

With the availability of a large online community that consumes digital content on a daily basis and the opportunity for enterprises to leverage social media beyond PR and marketing, there is a need for enterprises in Malaysia to align their social media strategies and organizational structure, shifting their focus towards being a social business.

How can a social business model help enterprises? By adhering to a social business structure, enterprises are able to truly understand their customers’ behavioral nuances on social media, and capitalize on social media capabilities. This helps achieve internal and external enterprise-related business goals across departments such as Sales, Customer Care, Marketing and HR.

For instance, by establishing an enterprise-wide social media solution, OCBC Bank has gone beyond the confines of using social media as a marketing tool and has not only effectively optimized social media to manage bank branches and brand conversations around the globe but, at the same time, streamlined both the internal and external customer service workflow with better work efficiency and communication amongst team members.

While the thought of restructuring an enterprise to achieve social success is certainly daunting, it is crucial to get the fundamentals right through five steps:

  1. Establish clear roles by determining leadership and team organization
  2. Align overall enterprise strategy and goals across departments
  3. Establish an enterprise-wide social relationship platform with centralized social media channels control
  4. Leverage established ecosystem to provide solutions across various business aspects
  5. Educate and train employees to ensure systematic rollout and success

Social media will increasingly become an integral part of all business communications across organizations. For enterprises to achieve true global collaboration, social media will be optimized more heavily in the future to come. I must admit that this transition will not be a smooth ride and it is a path that constantly evolves; however, to get on the right track, enterprises need to get their social business organized.

[1] TNS Global, Malaysian Internet users amongst the global social leaders, http://www.tnsglobal.com/press-release/malaysian-internet-users-amongst-global-social-leaders , 23 September 2014.

The writer is Yvonne Tey, marketing director, APAC, Hootsuite

[Image from Shutterstock]

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