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Understanding the benefits of social media

Peter Whitehead
Financial Times
21 April 2010


PA Consulting Group's David Elton, an IT and change management expert, took part in an FT podcast on what businesses have to do to drive business benefits from social networking.

David is joined by Malcolm Mullins, director of Strategic Projects at Balfour Beatty Workplace and Jennifer Grenz, head of marketing at Symbian, the mobile operating system.  The discussion was led by Peter Whitehead, the FT's Digital Business editor.

The discussion explored the benefits that can be derived both internally, in terms of connecting with a company's workforce and improving knowledge sharing, and externally in terms of connecting with customers.

David makes the following key points:

  • Social networking has three characteristics - intimacy, collaboration and an open approach and these are often a challenge for most businesses

  • experimentation is right. You start by changing the way people think, before you begin experimenting with the technology. Profit is not a barrier to effective social networks and there are examples of organisations making money using social networking as the customer interface. The trick is to work out what examples can tell you and apply this to your organisation

  • companies have to embrace the idea, that speaking as one, and being committed to what they do is absolutely essential.  Customers can tell the difference between a social network that has been 'added on' and one that reflects the ethos of the company.

To listen to the podcast, click here.  

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