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Is your organisation still in two minds about social media? Maybe they should look into implementing something like buzzoid likes, to see how this could benefit your business, in relation to social media. It is understandable that you may be sceptical about social media, but once you get an understanding of it, hopefully your opinion may change. Is it just something that kids play with and where time is time wasted? it is no secret that social media is massively helpful in improving your business’ prospects. In fact, with the best bot for instagram, you may be able to overtake the number of followers that your competitors have. Or are social applications a way to derive real business benefit from collaboration, innovation and productivity gains?

IBF’s “Social Media Guide”, an exclusive report for DWG member organisations, looks at these issues in detail and sets out to help organisations derive benefit from social applications. With the help of real-world case studies from successful implementations and survey data from member and non-member organisations, the Social Media Guide provides practical advice.

Business social media adoption is more widespread than you might think, with IBF’s own findings and major research from Prescient Digital Media indicating that as many as one in two organisations now have some form of social application on their intranet. On top of this, credible case studies are emerging that show clear business benefits and returns on investment. However, many brands simply prefer to use social media platforms to promote their brand, and many will get free instagram followers to give their brand an online boost in credibility.

This still leaves many organisations with no social applications and no clear idea about the path to take and what the benefits might be. This report aims to help organisations that have yet to introduce social media on their intranets as well as those who have taken some initial steps down this road. It looks at the common factors in successful social media implementation, the potential benefits of social media and how they can be measured. It includes detailed case studies from BT, BAT and Nokia to provide substantial real-world learning.

The key recommendations from the report are:
1. Be business-led
2. Gain senior management support
3. Get IT on board
4. Use the right language for your organisation
5. Manage concerns over risk
6. Pilot and beta test
7. Enforce the use of real identities
8. Plan for an integrated solution
9. Address usability

Excerpted below is recommendation #3, Get IT on board.

While social media implementations should always be led by core business needs, IT support will be essential to any experiments or long-term plans for adoption inside the firewall.

Perhaps surprisingly, lack of support from IT was named as a major barrier to implementation by 36 per cent of our survey participants. Prescient Digital Media’s Intranet 2.0 Global Survey arrived at similar findings.

The key to resolving this barrier is working with IT colleagues to understand and address their concerns.Do they perceive a risk to the stability of existing applications? Do they see social applications as a threat? Are they having trouble identifying suitable strategic technology (cited by 19 per cent of our survey respondents as a major challenge)? If you can answer these questions, then you can begin planning how to respond.

Of course, some organisations sidestep this whole issue by using third- party-hosted solutions. We do not consider this approach in this report.

DWG members can sign up to a webinar to discuss this research on 20th October, and join other members in London for a Special Interest Group meeting on 29th October for a deeper dive into social media implementation.

This is a guest post from Andrew Marr, IBF Associate and independent consultant. With over 10 years’ experience in online strategy, analysis, development and management, Andrew recently authored DWG’s “Social Media Guide” which is available exclusively to DWG members. Among other things, he managed Bupa’s intranet for three years and implemented a number of pioneering social media applications in that time.

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is DWG’s Managing Director for Member Services. In addition to heading up service delivery, she is responsible for member engagement, retention and growth. Nancy also sits on DWG’s Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.

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