Social Business

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Walking the Legal Tightrope of Social Business

Social business is a rapidly expanding phenomenon, creating situations not foreseen by our current legal system. Should managers friend employees on Facebook or connect with them on LinkedIn? What are the legal implications of making these connections — or not? In many ways, social business puts managers in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dilemma, but managers cannot afford to ignore the legal implications of social business.

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Video: Making Social Business Work in Organizations

Companies are getting better at managing social tools. A new survey finds that 40% of companies say they’re getting value out of social business, double the rate of a year earlier.

Behind the increased usefulness of social business are companies that have leaders committed to making the technology work. These leaders are also putting it into corporate strategy plans and developing ways to measure social business and to reward employees for using the technology. Still, at many companies, social business remains stuck in first gear.

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Social Business Research Study Launched

MIT SMR has launched its 3rd annual global study on social business, exploring how social technologies and social data are changing company operations and corporate behavior. Now we need readers’ help. Please tell us how social business is evolving in your company via the short survey we’ve designed. The survey will take about 10 minutes of your time. It will help us to continue our inquiry into how social business is influencing the practice of management.

Image courtesy of Boston College.
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It Started with a Hashtag: Revitalizing BC Football with Social Media

Boston College’s football recruiting efforts were turned around with a social media campaign led by the coach and staff. They started using #BeADude on Twitter and in Facebook, Instagram and Vine to represent the program and depict the new attitude of the team. Result: many new recruits attributed their decisions to come to BC directly to the “#BeADude campaign. Here are seven lessons from the campaign.

Image courtesy of Flickr user splorp.

How “Social Selling” Is Reinventing Cold Calling

In a Q&A, LinkedIn marketer Ralf VonSosen says his company is using its own tools to build connections through social channels that facilitate a better selling and buying experience. He calls this “social selling,” and says that done right, it “moves our contact from a traditional cold call to either a warm introduction or at least a warm conversation.” VonSosen details the free ways people can build a personal brand online and LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator product, which scales up the concept.

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Four Ways Social Data Can Generate Business Value

Companies both large and small have access to a growing stream of social data from an increasing number of sources. But many are missing a significant opportunity to use social data to gain intimate and real-time knowledge about what is going on within, not just outside, the organization. Social data can help organizations improve team performance, drive financial performance, and more.

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Why Social Business Initiatives Fail

Deeper analysis of the 2013 social business report from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte shows that organizations may be inadvertently setting up their social programs to not succeed by not having clear objectives for the programs and by not giving employees enough free time to fully engage with the projects. Gerald C. Kane, an associate professor at Boston College, combs through the data to find three insights into social business failure.

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Your Turn: What Questions Do Managers Have About Social Business?

What trends and companies should we explore in our upcoming social business survey? The differences between countries and cultures when adopting social business globally? The differences between using social tools internally and externally? The ways social can provide competitive advantage? Tell us your thoughts and help shape the next survey, which will launch in October 2013 and be reported in the summer of 2014.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Torley.
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Can Social Business Make Employees Happier?

Social business can breed contentment among employees — but it doesn’t happen automatically. As the 2013 social business report from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte notes: “Businesses that are making the greatest progress toward becoming a socially connected enterprise focus rigorously on four interrelated areas: leading a social culture, measuring what matters, keeping content fresh and changing the way work gets done.”

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BMW Test-Drives Mobile Microvideo

BMW is pursuing consumer-to-consumer marketing using microvideo on mobile phones. The company wants to see if mobile social media can help boost sales. Wolfgang Breyer, head of international advertising, online communications and social media at BMW, says the company wants to see how mobile sharing compares to PC-based sharing, and whether microvideo offers an effective format for consumers. BMW is planning a pilot this fall.

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Nonprofits Get More from Social Media with Metrics

In a Q&A, author and consultant Beth Kanter explains the special challenges nonprofits have in taking advantage of social media. In her book Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, Kanter and co-author Katie Delahaye Paine write, “Affecting social change is, of course, the ultimate goal for non-profit organizations. But you can’t get to any destination without a road map and some signposts along the way. Measurement is your map, and metrics are your signposts.”

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Social Business: Flat or Hierarchical? A Surprising Answer

The most effective social businesses of the future may start to look more like organizations that long predate modern corporations — so-called “loosely coupled” organizations such as military, education and religious institutions.

These organizations remain deeply hierarchical, argues Gerald C. Kane, but these hierarchies operate differently than modern corporations, pushing decision-making capabilities down to people who can better deal with conditions on the ground.

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Turning a “No Comment” Company into a Social Media Advocate

Danish shipping and energy company Maersk Group had nearly 100 years of history as a strong, silent type before corporate brand manager Anna Granholm-Brun came along. In a conversation with MIT Sloan Management Review’s Robert Berkman, Granholm-Brun explains how the company has shifted from one end of the transparency spectrum to the other, why there’s so much value in a good story and what it took to sell social to company executives.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Mayo Clinic.
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Mayo Clinic Leads Social Conversations About Healthcare

The Mayo Clinic has been able to leverage and enhance its reputation as a trusted source of health information through a robust online presence and expansive social media program. Through its YouTube channel, Twitter feed, and Facebook page, it brings health information to hundreds of thousands of consumers. The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media coordinates and focuses the Clinic’s various social media initiatives and programs.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Lil Larkie.
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Procedural Versus Strategic Approaches to Social Media

Is your company’s social media team grounded in the culture of your organization? Younger employees often have a procedural understanding of social media tools but need strategic vision, argues Boston College’s Jerry Kane. The most effective social media initiatives may be partnerships between younger employees experimenting with social media technologies while more experienced employees harness their enthusiasm and ideas to give them strategic direction.

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Social Business: Shifting Out of First Gear

A 2013 research report by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte shows the growing importance of social business to solving many corporate challenges. Seventy percent of survey respondents agree that social business is an opportunity to fundamentally change the way their organization works. The authors explain why some businesses are reaping value from social business, and what is holding others back.

Image courtesy of Flickr user trialsanderrors.
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Valuing Influentials Means More than Just Counting Connections

New research shows that marketers who want to determine the value of a particular online influencer need to look beyond just the size of a person’s network connections. Zsolt Katona, assistant professor at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, found that the value of an influencer depends on underlying factors in the network structure of that individual with the target set of consumers. Specifically, Katona found that people who provide sole influence over consumers are the most valuable.

Image courtesy of Flickr user PhotKing ♛.
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One Size Does Not Fit All in Social Media

How can corporations get more value from their use of social media? They can start by paying attention to research into developmental psychology, argues Boston College’s Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane. Understanding why people use social media differently at different ages can provide considerable insight for corporations that want to interact with customers.

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Social Business Is Fast Gaining Ground Across All Industries

In the second annual survey from the MIT and Deloitte Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project, businesspersons from 12 industries were asked if social business was “important to their organization today.” Respondents from all industries reported an increase in importance from the previous year. The energy and utilities industry had the biggest year to year increase, while the technology/media/telecommunications sector rated social business as highest in importance for both years.

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How Companies Can Move Past a Trough of Disillusionment in Social Business

Dion Hinchcliffe, Chief Strategy Officer of The Dachis Group and co-author with Peter Kim of Social Business by Design (Jossey-Bass, 2012) says some companies are facing a “trough of disillusionment” with social business, but that this is normal, and there are strategies a company can take to move forward and become a more fully enabled social business. Among these are building social media literacy, integrating existing initiatives, and connecting social tools to how work gets done.

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