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Social business

What are companies really doing?

Sloan MIT In the tight fiscal environment that we are facing here in New Zealand and globally, organisations are constantly looking for innovative ways to improve performance and get ahead of the competition. But what are businesses really doing with social media? The proliferation of technology-based social networking has been transforming politics and social norms on a global scale over the past decade. Will social networking and social media software have a similarly transformative effect on business?

To answer these questions, MIT Sloan management Review and Deloitte conducted a survey of managers and companies in 115 countries and 24 industries. Here are some snippets of the key findings, supplemented with local examples we have come across in New Zealand.

Social Business Matters Today – and will matter even more tomorrow

52% of survey respondents believe social business is important today, and 86% believe it will be important in the next three years. Approximately 51% of our New Zealand population are facebook users, and 63% of registered users are aged between 18 - 44. As we become more comfortable with social media, businesses are increasing their usage of this channel to engage with customers. For example, all the major banks in New Zealand have facebook sites and local government agencies such as Auckland Council use facebook to communicate to a new generation of people where traditional methods are failing.

Some Leaders are Enthusiastic, but lack metrics to prove it

Metrics are not important if you are just experimenting with social media. However, as usage progresses, having metrics in place helps managers assess, encourage and reward behaviours. Our own use of Yammer, an internal social media platform, was initially a leap of faith but we now have statistics to prove its value.  We use Yammer to connect our staff and their knowledge.  This currently runs around 800 messages per month most of which are within threads of conversations.  These conversations breakdown common barriers including location and organisation structure.  On a daily basis, we can see our staff being connected in ways not possible before Yammer and we can track how these conversations allow us to provide better service to our clients.  We have even introduced an avatar into the discussion to encourage and reward activities that are aligned to culture.

Companies leading the way

The global survey respondents indicate media and tech companies are leading the way, and we also see innovative organisations in New Zealand from various industries challenging this trend.

New Zealand Police were awarded “best use of social media” for their use of facebook to post live cases and solicit help from the public to identify people or report suspicious behaviour connected with the crimes (bit.ly/MsgXMS ). BNZ has approximately 4000 followers and produced 7,500 tweets covering a broad base of communications to customers including outages / issues with online services, earthquake related branch closures and others. ASB has 52,000 likes on their facebook page, translating to 52,000 people being connected and receiving regular information feeds from the bank via this channel. ASB went a step further by introducing a virtual branch facebook application which enables real-time and secure private conversations with their banking specialists.

Gathered through surveys and interviews, the research results provide executives insight into the social business landscape today and a framework to help realize value from social business investments.  Download your digital copy of the global study findings today, including considerations for how to put social business to work in your enterprise.

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