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How to Use Social Networking Software for to Grow Your Business

The fastest growing companies are discovering the advantages of social networking software to streamline communications, accelerate innovation and grow their customer base.

Social business software provides the solution for fast growing companies needing to accomplish big goals, like building their brand, accelerating innovation and delivering superior customer service to cultivate a strong and loyal customer base.

Social business software helps fast growing companies by enabling discovery of expert information and building community from the inside out and the outside in with employees, customers and partners.

As today’s businesses struggle to compete for presence in the marketplace, technology gives them the opportunity to tap in globally to the more than 1.5 billion networking users.1 Clearly, businesses must strive to build relationships with stakeholders who are comfortable in a social  environment. Using networking software to connect, involve and reward members of each community enables a dynamic process that generates ongoing growth and development.

The right social business platform links all communities, taking advantage of solutions that fit the three top business needs:

  • knowledge-sharing – encourage collaboration and sharing of information to save time searching for sources and experts;
  • customer engagement – create a feedback loop on existing products and services, and identify successful customers;
  • expert discovery – find the right person with the right expertise and quickly share solutions.2

Flexible, collaborative communities serve the three key functional areas, of marketing and sales; product lifecycle management; and customer service, by:

  • making every customer a brand advocate (marketing and sales)
  • accelerating development of new products (product lifecycle management)
  • making every customer a success story (customer service)2

Collaboration happens within and among teams. A large enterprise juggles multiple teams, while a smaller business has the advantage of operating as one team, making use of all the same valuable social networking tools as a large business, among them:

  • identify product champions for use in case studies and other marketing content
  • enable private, secure online communication, collaboration and peer to peer support
  • motivate participation from all groups using gamification mechanics2

What to look for in a social business software solution

A social business software solution should enable the businesses to have control over the user experience through a configurable platform that offers a comprehensive suite of collaboration and communication tools that include at the very least: forum collaboration, social tagging and ranking, document storage, expertise finder and knowledgebase or wiki.

A complete social business software software solution provides for access to the community from any device and embeds gamification to incent participation by users and reward their contributions through leaderboards, and with badges, certificates or coupons, building further participation, along with brand loyalty.

Some thought leaders describe the changing business environment as moving beyond the “information age” to the “communication age.”3 Social networking software gives businesses of all sizes the tools to achieve greater efficiencies in communication, productivity and innovation as customers share feedback and ideas, and employees and partners quickly respond.

  1. HiveSocialTM for Marketing and Sales, white paper, ©Enterprise Hive, 2013.
  2. Social Business Software: Addressing Three Top Business Needs, white paper, by Vicki Tambellini, Julian Andronic and Lauren Hart Piper, ©Enterprise Hive, 2013.
  3. The Tech Trends That Will Disrupt: Create Opportunities in 2014, by Daniel Burrus, Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2014.