Get social with sales to capitalise on Enterprise 2.0…

Social media has a part to play in the mobile world, and Brian Bird, Alcatel Lucent Enterprise business development manager, says it can benefit both you and your customer.

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Skype, video content and instant messaging: these collaboration tools and social media platforms are now part of everyday life for a growing number of people at both a personal and professional level.

Traditional forms of outbound marketing, such as cold calling, door knocking, mail outs and telemarketing campaigns are becoming less effective as consumers find it easier to educate themselves by checking online reviews for products and companies and even research the online profiles of people who they decide to engage with when searching for a new supplier.

Many businesses continue to be reluctant to embrace social media and its potential business benefits as they see it as a place for adolescents to post selfies and the latest snap of the meal they are about to enjoy.

But businesses which fail to embrace social media do so at their own peril. The growing trend for consumers is to conduct their own online research prior to purchasing new products and services and if you’re not present, you will be over-looked.

With a little time and planning it isn’t that difficult to begin to develop a social media profile that will begin to provide business benefits almost instantly.

The key to successfully using social media is in building a strategy that identifies the platforms you will be using, who your target audience is, what you want to say to that audience and how often you want to say it.

The most common platforms being used today are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These three well known social media tools will allow you to capitalise on your employees own personal network of contacts as well as creating a business presence that prospective customers will have access to when doing their own research.

Twitter allows you to monitor breaking news and trends, which can assist your employees in staying up to date with relevant industry news and ensure your business is always aware and on top of key trends in the market.

Taking it mobile

There is also a growing list of collaboration technologies that businesses can deploy to assist employees in taking advantage of and managing their social media contacts.

This can include something as simple as communication systems that can be deployed to allow employees to use their own devices such as smart phones and tablets as their office communication tool.

In addition there are collaboration applications that allow you to monitor the presence of your internal contacts and your external social media contacts such as customers and suppliers, making communication between any business and its relevant customers, partners and suppliers more open, accessible and effective.

Not only is there potential benefit in deploying this strategy across your own business, but depending on the products and services you are selling to your customers, assisting them to adapt a social media strategy may increase the perceived value in dealing with your business in future.

In the end it’s all about looking for ways to:

• Improve customer satisfaction

• Increase employee productivity

• Lower operating costs.

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