How Do You Use Social Software?

Social software is everywhere through sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the list goes on. Social business is everywhere, too. In fact, all of these sites are used by companies including Sherpa Software, everywhere to promote and sell their businesses. Social software allows minds to come together and provide solutions to everyday problems.
At Lotusphere 2011, IBM pushed the message “Get Social. Do Business.” The key reasoning was to promote collaboration and its many, many benefits. Top reasons to attend included networking and learning from each other how businesses can benefit, engaging in industry-related conversations and programs, and most importantly, achieving breakthrough results. The point is the more you actually participate, the better off for you and your company. Other conferences and outlets are promoting similar messages, but the big questions are:

  • Are you buying into it?
  • Is your upper management buying into it?
  • How can you use social software to solve your problems?
  • How can you use social software within your business?
  • How can you use social software to connect with your customers?

In this multi-part article, we will explore these questions starting with the last two questions first. This should lead you to answers for the other questions. If you don’t buy into it, how will you ever be able to sell management on it? If management doesn’t buy in, how can your employees effectively use it? Let’s get started.

How can you use social software to solve your problems?
As someone in IT, all of these tools are there to help you connect, work smarter and work more efficiently. LinkedIn has groups for everything under the sun. They are available for you to share your knowledge and also gain some from your peers. Facebook has it’s own pages for connecting like individuals. Social sites like PlanetLotus.org, PlanetSharepoint.org and Ideajam.net all provide IT professionals with ways to connect and share their industry-related knowledge.

How can you use social software within your business?
In house tools like IBM Connects, IBM Quickr and Microsoft SharePoint allow individual employees to connect and collaborate with each other. They provide an internal means of communicating and sharing vital information. External sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are also benefcial tools because they allow real time conversations and information sharing. While the misconception that these are only used for entertainment-purposes does exist, millions of organizations would disagree. They utilize these sites to generate awareness, provide a presence in their industry and communicate directly with their audiences.

How can you use social software to connect with your customers?
What are your customers’ needs? How can you use all the tools mentioned to promote your business, while giving value to your audience? As mentioned before, you can control your message, who you connect with and how your company is positioned. Watch this brief two-minute video, “Social Networking in Plain English” to gain an understanding of how user-friendly these sites are and how you can utilize them to your own advantage.

These methods and more will be dicussed in upcoming parts of this series. I know many of our readers use these tools on a personal level but how many of you use something within your company to reach out to other employees or find resources within? Stay tuned…

 

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