Business, government, organisations, Social media

Social media in the public sector

We have seen how social media has been widely adopted by private organisation in the attempt to improve collaboration and communication outside and inside an organisation. Although businesses have been quick to adopt these technologies, public sectors have been less willing to do so with regulation and policies restricting information sharing.

government_twitter1
http://www.synthesio.com

The need for transparency in the public sector

In recent years government agencies have worked towards more openness and transparency in their actions. It has been recognized that with the efforts of more transparent communication and operation, government can increase public engagement in a demographic society.  In response to this trend, President Obama issued a call for increased openness in government on his first day in office. In 2009 Open Government Directive was issued with three the principles of; transparency, participation, and collaboration. Since then social media has been used not only to achieve more transparency in government agencies, but has given politicians the tools to reach new voters, build trust, and maintain loyalty. This is very evident in the recent U.S election, where Donald Trump has made use of Twitter to voice his opinions, create awareness and persuade the public for their vote.

 

Eliminating information silos

The public sector is mostly regulated with rules in a hierarchy with fixed reporting structures. These policies and laws have restricted the communication and information sharing between agencies as well as within, creating what we call information silos. With past research and studies conducted, organisations have realized the benefits of information sharing and knowledge management.  It has been recognized that in order to solve certain tasks, there needs to be vertical as well as horizontal communication channels within a organisations. Social media has provided a new way of sharing this information and eliminating some of the information silos within the public sector.

 

Concerns of social media use in public sector

As with private companies, we have seen that social media has created great opportunity for communication and collaboration, but it has also created opportunity for malicious or accidental confidential information leaks. There has been little research on how to effectively use tools for information sharing in the public sector. Social media has created the need for innovative research approaches in this area.

 

New Zealand Parliaments and social media

IN 2009 researched revealed that 80% of individuals over the age of 15 have used the internet in the previous twelve months. New Zealanders use the internet to find information that influence their opinions and attitudes; saying that it is a more important source of information than other media channels. Social media has been widely adopted by New Zealanders with Facebook the 2nd most popular website. Government officials have recognized the importance of social media exposure in NZ and have created their own Facebook accounts to connect with the public. Below is the figures for 2011

 

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Sources

https://www.parliament.nz/resource/0000216407

http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.massey.ac.nz/science/article/pii/S0740624X1200086X

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740624X10000201

Mergel – 2010 – Minnowbrook

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blogging, Business, organisations, Social media

Small Businesses, Non-profits and Mobile Social Media

Often I hear SME owners complain that social media is just not giving them their return on investment they were expecting. So today we will discuss how small business can effectively utilize social media platforms. As well as discuss how B2B can benefit through the use of social media for effective and efficient communication, and the possible security risks involved.

SME
newproductvisions.com

Why small businesses are losing on social media

Social media use in business has been trending upwards with an average of 55% of small business owners using some sort of social media platform.According to a recent study, nearly 60% of small business owners using social media platforms such as Facebook have reported not seeing any return on their investment. According to  Ted Rubin the reason for the lack of ROI for small business owners are; they have been set up to believe by social media “experts”that by simply opening  up a Facebook account, they are opening the floodgates to an internet worth of sales. In reality though, for social media to be a successful marketing tool for SME, they need to spent a lot more time listing to customers, finding leads and building relationships rather than just posting about promotions. Rubin explains that small business owners need to focus on the return on relationships rather than ROI.

How can B2B make use of social media platforms

A recent study based on a model using Media Synchronicity Theory (MST), showed that businesses often used social media as a channel to communicate with customers. Yet there seems to be a lack of utilizing social media capabilities in B2B communication and collaboration. Social media platforms are allowing for teams across various departments and organisations to effectively and efficiently communicate instantly. They no longer have to meet face to face to discuss progress of a projects or attend to escalations needing urgent action. A study conducted pointed out four capabilities of social media in B2B communication and collaboration

  • Transmission velocity (The speed at which transmission occurs). Social media offer instant transmission of messages, also allowing for a pre-transmission presence where you can see who is available online.
  • Parallelism (The number of simultaneous communication that can occur on one medium). Social media platforms have provide features where you can decide to “group” team members together for bulk communication. This feature is effective when there is a change or request for a current project with team members across different regions and organisations.
  • Rehears-ability (The ability to review message before sending). Social media allows for sender and receiver to review messages before sending,whereas phone calls or face to face meetings have less rehears-ability.
  • Reprocess-ability (The ability to re-visit a message). Social media keeps a linear time orientated record of individual and group messages. Although it is necessary for important messages to be transferred to a more formal and permanent location.

see full report here

Security risks involved in using Social media

Risk-Management-Stuart-Miles-e1391527868144

boostcapital.co.uk

One weakness of using social media in B2B communication and collaboration is the possibility of information leaks and hacks. According to one journal article, most businesses are concerned that important and confidential information can easily be forwarded to the wrong person,with limited ability to retract messages. Businesses are also concerned with how well the information and accounts are protected against outside threats such as hackers. To help you in protecting your business, here are 5 tips on how to secure your social media platforms.

  1. Train IT personnel– Managers and IT need to be fully aware of any security risks for the business when using social media.
  2. Institute a policy-Set down policies for the use of social media in the workplace.
  3. Maintain ongoing monitoring and security– Once  a policy is in place, managers and IT must ensure adherence of policies. Regularly update and remind employees of teh policies.
  4. Lock down social settings– Train personnel in incorporating maximum privacy settings on their social media accounts. This will limit the opportunity for outside threats to get access to confidential information.
  5. Train employees in the use of social media platforms– Ensure all employees are well educated in the features and use of social media to avoid accidental information leaks.

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blogging, Business, organisations, Social media

Development of Social Media in Business

When did Social Media become a necessity

There was a time where people could not instant message each other, share documents or even just jump on a computer to read the news . I KNOW right, how did these people survive and more importantly how did they get anything done. Nowadays , we do everything on some sort of device, from banking, to socializing, and most importantly to do our jobs. Without social media, we would be in complete disruption of everyday life. We will look at where it all started and how social media has become a requirement for success in business.

So where exactly did social media start?

  • It all started in the 1990’s, more specific in 1997 with blogging. People have a natural need to communicate and connect to similar groups to fulfill the need of belonging, making blogging a very powerful and popular platform till this day.
  • Soon ‘Friends reunited’ followed, where people could connect and communicate with each other online.
  • In 2002 social media started to grow rapidly with one platform after another, 2003 saw the waking of LinkedIn, the start of social media for professionals.
  • But it wasn’t until 2004 that social media really boomed with the launch of Facebook. Yup, we all know and love it and is part of our daily routine.

Social media has since become a requirement in business !

How social media has become the essence of organisations

Today, all companies use some sort of social media platform, whether it be Google+, a website or  a more sophisticated platform. Many business realize the advantages social media brings for advertising, connecting and communicating with their customers, but they don’t always realize the advantages inside the organisation.

Socialmediaworkplace
Human Capital Impact

In today’s diverse and global business environment, it is essential to be able to connect to a colleague 3000 miles away, or to order urgent inventory from your supplier in China. What if you had a quick decision to make regarding ordering stock on special, but you need to find out if your customer base would like the new addition? Easy right, straight to FB or mailchimp…..? When dealing with large global organisations, people need to easily review work, brainstorm together or schedule and conduct online meetings. Most business conduct their market research online for the fact that it is user generated and tagged based information. They get to see and hear what people have to say about trends, needs and wants at a click of a mouse. For project research you might check out WIKI with information from specialist contributors across the globe all contributing to the topic you are researching. Social media has become one of the main sources for business research as well as advertising. Below is a list of why we need to use social media in business.

A list of why social media is a must for organisation, inside and outside:

Business or Pleasure - Social Media in the Workplace
Kelly services recruitment

#1 Marketing

Social media gives ample opportunity to market your product or service. Be careful not to spam your audience causing them to stop following you. Make time to post some tips and ideas, or perhaps a clip or explanation on how to use your product to achieve best results.

#2 Real Time Updates

Social media allows for colleagues to be able to communicate instantly on their phones or other devices whether they are across the globe or have clashing schedules. Online meetings, urgent matters, updates on projects, no matter what the need, social media has made it all possible. It also allows Businesses to be able to inform their Customers of upcoming events, latest news and product updates/releases. Finally, it has successfully and solely been used by a world leader to inform and update his supporters and even his opponents of his ideas and policies. He has successfully used it to voice his opinions and to attack major organisations news outlets.

#3 Relationship building

Social media allows for business and customer to develop meaningful relationships through constant communication. Your customer can post comments to your page as you might share a glimpse of life behind the scenes.

#4 Market research

Social media helps you to know what your customer thinks about your product. See whats drawing their attention and ask for feedback or ideas for improvement.

So as we can see, social media has grown to become essential in our everyday lives, professional and personal. We can conclude that new technologies have made the business world a lot more convenient but also added a lot more complexities.

You can read more about how to successfully use social media in your business here.