THE VALUE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CORPORATE OPERATIONS
Updated: May 13, 2021
How social media deepens relationships, increases business efficiency, and encourages wider organizational change.
Executives often underestimate social’s economic, cultural, and transformative value. Understanding the true value and potential of social has become more imperative as organizations look for new possibilities in the post-pandemic economy
According to Deloitte, 77% of CEOs report that digital transformation efforts have significantly accelerated—and 70% of CEOs are prioritizing changes to customer behavior as the most important factor setting their future direction
With organizations looking to reimagine their business models and quickly adapt to more digital ways of connecting with customers and employees, social has a vital role to play in the years ahead. Research found that mature organizations use social to realize broad cross-organizational benefits, while laggard organizations still primarily see social as a communications tool and marketing channel.
Mature organizations extend social’s value beyond customer relationships. As expected, customers and community are the primary audiences for organizations’ social media programs. To deepen relationships, you need sustained engagement.
"Relationships develop with sustained engagements that lead to conversations across multiple channels, not just on social media."
Brand health improves with social media and employee advocacy. Organizations’ brand health closely reflects their ability to build deep, strong, relationships with customers. 84% of mature organizations saw significant success in improving key brand health metrics, such as relevancy and positive sentiment.
To fully realize the value of social media, organizations should:
1. Tap into social media’s unique ability to develop and deepen relationships across multiple stakeholders. ⠀
Organizations have seen during the recent series of crises—from the global pandemic and economic uncertainty to the movement for social justice—how social media can maintain and strengthen relationships. The need for increased speed and real-time data has elevated social’s role in staying connected with not only customers but also employees, partners, and the community.⠀
2. Realize and extend social media’s ability to drive efficiency and value beyond marketing and communications. While social media’s focus on customers is well known, its effect is also spreading throughout the organization. In particular, employee advocacy creates greater value in brand health and employee engagement and also improves efficiency in areas ranging from sales to recruitment. ⠀
3. Leverage social media’s existing organizational structure and processes to catalyze digital transformation. The spread of social media across the organization supports digital transformation, starting with executives and extending throughout the organization, especially with employee advocacy. Social media programs deployed to a broad set of employees and business functions raise employee skill sets, create value and new efficiencies, and get leaders educated, talking, and aligned around a comprehensive digital strategy.⠀
As social media strengthens relationships, it also creates operational efficiencies and contributes to key business results.
Organizations with mature social media programs for employees reported many benefits, including an increased sense of connection among employees, higher customer satisfaction, and improved overall brand health.
Social media is also part of a broader digital ecosystem that delivers essential efficiencies. Combining social media with other digital practices increases the efficiency of marketing campaigns by amplifying the impact of other digital channels such as websites and email marketing. From a sales perspective, our research showed that use of social media increased both brand differentiation and lead quality while reducing customer acquisition costs.
Brand health is central to an organization’s value—and 78% of respondents agree that the use of social media has improved brand health measures.
You can accelerate digital transformation by driving organizational change with social media.
Social media brings customer and employee voices and digital behaviors to the forefront, helping the digital transformation leader align with their changing needs and pain points. Adopting mature social media practices is a stepping stone towards broader digital transformation.
Research found that employees who view posts about their colleagues and their company feel a stronger connection to their organization, with 28% reporting increased employee engagement.
Driving operational efficiencies and contributing to key business results, social media can improve areas like employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and brand health.