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Our Love-Hate Relationship With Enterprise Social Networking

In honor of Valentine's Day, we offer 10 things to love about social networking in the enterprise, and 10 things that are leaving businesses cold. (In some cases, they are one and the same.)

10 Smart Enterprise Uses For Twitter
10 Smart Enterprise Uses For Twitter
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
10 Things To Hate

1. Security and privacy risks: Social networks have opened up new security and privacy risks for organizations and their customers.

2. Loss of productivity: While there is much to be gained from social networking in the enterprise, there is also much to be lost--namely, productivity, as employees make use of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for less-than-businesslike reasons in the workplace.

3. Loss of control: As companies come to depend more and more on public social networks for marketing, customer service, and other business-critical tasks, they are becoming increasingly challenged by changes to the networks that come fast, furious, and often without warning.

4. Message mismanagement: Social networking gives voice to anyone who has the wherewithal to create an account. But more people talking up your company isn't necessarily a good thing when the message isn't the one you want to convey.

5. Resource hogging: Internal and external social networking does provide some efficiencies for companies, but effective management requires what can be significant staff resources.

[ Too much information can sink ships--or careers. Help Your Business Avoid Social TMI. ]

6. Customer distraction: People are being bombarded with places to go and things to see online. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Tweets, likes, contests, videos, updates, photos...There is an increasingly big battle for customer attention.

7. Culture shock: While many customers have gladly gotten onboard the social bus, there are many who view social networking with suspicion and/or disdain. Companies are finding this same dichotomy internally, as they roll out social business tools to their employees. Effectively connecting with camps on both sides of the social networking line is a big challenge.

8. Policy overhauls: Even companies that are not currently making wide use of internal or external social networking need to develop policy around acceptable use. This process can be difficult for resource-strapped companies, especially since the goals and the social networking "rules" often seem to be in a constant state of flux.

9. Data, data, data: While the volumes of data generated by social networking activity can be a good thing, it can be overwhelming at best and useless at worst without the right tools to make sense of it. These tools can be costly (although there are many free options out there) and the results sometimes difficult to decipher or effectively apply.

10. Uncharted territory: Business social networking is still largely uncharted territory, and virtually anything is possible.

Social media are generating tons of data, but that data only becomes truly valuable when examined in context. Attend the virtual Enterprise 2.0 event Social Analytics: The Bridge To Business Value, and learn how social analytics will provide the bridge to unlocking business value. It happens Feb. 16.

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Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2012 | 10:43:43 PM
re: Our Love-Hate Relationship With Enterprise Social Networking
Thanks for your note, Melisa. I'd pretty amazing to think how much social has changed business models in such a short time. I'd love to hear more about the companies you are working with and their experiences.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
MBLEASDALE940
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MBLEASDALE940,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2012 | 1:12:38 AM
re: Our Love-Hate Relationship With Enterprise Social Networking
We heart this list Debra! Our organization spends a good deal of time helping companies understand why it's not practical to ban social media and it's better to embrace its benefits by adopting best business practices and solutions to keep compliant. With the bulk of all wealth moving to a completely connected generation, businesses that don't offer a way to connect with their customers will surely lose them. - Melisa at Actiance
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