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Socializing the supply chain (Part 2)

  
  
  

This two-part series highlights social media’s role in today’s supply chain organization.

Social Pages 200pxIn our first post, we looked at the potential benefits of social networking for supply chain professionals. This second post  takes a look inside and around organizations to explore the multidimensional applications of the technology from staff to investors:

  1. Your workforce and human resources department: With workforces dispersed worldwide, technology enables the HR department to keep in touch with employees. New applications such as Socialcast and Opentext make it even easier and provide more effective ways to communicate with your own workforce. But perhaps the best value social media can offer to your HR management is in the area of recruitment. Here, the likes of LinkedIn can prove very valuable in identifying the right talent your organization needs, shifting the focus from reaching out to potential candidates to sorting and vetting the large number of possibilities – a nicer problem to have you may agree.
  2. Your public relations, advertising and marketing professionals: Never have any organizations held as much personal information on its members as sites like Facebook, Qzone, VKontakte, Bebo, and Foursquare do. While creating legitimate privacy concerns, the irony of it all is that users are voluntarily giving up personal information themselves. Social channels allow professionals to learn more about the likes and dislikes of followers, allowing for incredibly targeted marketing messaging. It also offers brands a multitude of channels to connect with customers and prospects on, whether it be YouTube, Flickr or Pinterest.  Keep in mind that social channels also come with their own pitfalls as the recent ill-fated Twitter campaign from McDonald’s has demonstrated when it backfired within hours. No idea where to start? Don’t panic, a new breed of agencies, such as Converseon, specialize in social asset management offering advice and services to prevent you from making a total leap of faith.
  3. Your market research and R&D groups: Gone are the days of the infamous ‘suggestion box’ which – let’s face it – never lived-up to expectations. Companies like Spigit offer tailored Enterprise innovation management solutions to generate, collect and analyze feedback from your staff, collaborators, focus groups or your market. Brands can also encourage participation via these platforms by offering incentives and virtual compensation packages, making the process much more likely to succeed.
  4. Your investors and finance organization: If you are a public company, you are probably finding it difficult to properly communicate with individual investors via social channels. Platforms such as Wikinvest or StockTweets are becoming very popular among individual investors and offer a potential tool to interact with them. Governments and regulators are also looking for new ways to get shareholders more informed and engaged and are reviewing what social media could bring to the investment arena. On the other hand, such is the pace of social networks that any kind of misleading information can have a direct impact on your stock price and monitoring social media in real time is a new skill Investors Relations specialists will need to learn quickly. Regulation may still restrict your ability to share critical information, but investor forums can be a powerful way of getting feedback and ‘taking the temperature’ from the otherwise silent majority.

I believe we are still in the early days of social media in the workplace and various elements will need to be addressed such as privacy, confidentiality, legitimacy, piracy to name a few. No doubt that it will shake-up a large number of policies - perhaps much further than the emergence of ‘e-mails’ triggered in its early days. One thing is fairly clear - if you intend on keeping the lines of communication open with your customers, staff and other stakeholders, you will need to connect with them on the social platforms where they are congregating. Go on, give it a go, you could even save costs in the process!

 

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