Using social for business
There are so many ways that I use social to conduct business, it’s become natural and critical to my productivity. I realize after some reflection, quite likely I take it for granted. Many companies don’t have the culture, governance, policies, tools and infrastructure in place to support employees to conduct business through social means the way that IBM has for many years. Working as a mobile employee for nearly 14 years, real time collaboration tools and the telephone are my life line and allow me to conduct work with my IBM colleagues, our agency partners and business partners across the globe.
Here’s a glimpse at how I use social for business daily (and as my friends and family know, into the wee evening hours also).
I conduct web conferences nearly every hour on the hour. Using Lotus Live, I’m able to share various applications, presentations, other content sources and more in real time. Having this ability ensures that everyone in attendance is able to follow along and not wasting time scrambling to find a presentation that was sent via email or other channels. When conducting web conferences, a key feature that I love and use quite often, is the ability to easily pass control to another speaker by simply granting them presenter rights. This allows for a much more collaborative work session. I can also record the session and make it available for replay. The integrated instant messaging/chat function is great for group discussion and questions. The team can post comments, questions and discussion items in real time throughout the conference. We can address the chat in real time or chose to address during the last portion of the call as a Q&A session. The chat function also allows you to send messages to everyone or privately to designated participants as needed. It also has the ability to save the chat dialogue, which I find quite helpful to ensure that follow up items don’t fall through the cracks and to share with others who may have missed the call. All presentation materials, call replay, chat history can then be posted in a collaboration space on Lotus Connections.
I have used Lotus Connections communities for several years now and have become a power user. Originally I started using it as a community manager to conduct digital and social strategy development across a business unit where I had responsibility for multiple product lines. In the beginning, the community had only 10 members, it has since grown to over 700. As an administrator, the membership functions allow me to invite and on-board IBM SMEs from across organizations and geographies to the community very easily. The Wiki space allows me to break out important materials into brand/topic specific categories. I can post and tag files, create work teams to focus on specific activities, use communications tools to inform the community members of upcoming events, new information that is available, a new blog entry and so much more.
I also use some external social venues throughout my work day like Twitter and LinkedIn, which allow me to connect with other like minded professionals who are working on similar initiatives and have valuable information and insights to share. Following and connecting with others has helped me to stay on top of new trends, learn from others who are dealing with similar challenges or just share related topics of interest.
Yes, social is for business, that’s why we call it social business.