“Relationships in business mean everything; the relationship should be with the people behind the site, not with the site itself. Those in the organization must foster and nurture the relationship,”
– Anne Pauker Kreitzberg, President of Cognetics.
An online social network is a community of individuals with a common interest who use a website, or other forms of technology, to communicate with each other and share important information. Technology is constantly helping individuals in diverse organizations to efficiently deliver highly useful information to a large number of their staff members. Social media provides users with a knowledge base via blogs, podcasts, and websites. Users are then able to connect with each other through a virtual world of social network communities.
Here are a few ways in which these connections can have a positive impact on your organization:
MAINTAINING CONNECTIONS WHILE CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS
Creating connections within an organization allows for increased collaboration across certain boundaries. Some individuals may feel intimidated when approaching an unfamiliar member in their organization. By using social networks to communicate, this divide can be diminished. This new way of communicating can lead to staff members gaining a feeling that they are positively impacting their organization, and the most successful ideas are less likely to fall through the cracks. According to The National Business Research Institute, 2/3 of Zappos employees are on Twitter, where they are encouraged to let their personalities shine, and use this platform to connect with their consumers on a more personal level. Consumers who utilized members of Zappos staff, in this unique platform, reported that they felt as if they had a personal shopper, which translates to the consumer feeling valued. These personal connections are easily fostered when consumers are able to get a sense of who the other person is, that they are collaborating with.
BENEFIT OF CREATIVE COLLABORATION IN THE CLASSROOM
In this day and age, if a video tutorial or bit of information lasts longer than 5 minutes, it is very unlikely that the viewer will give their full attention. Creating an environment that is creative, unique, and personal can easily be applied to the classroom. In order for students to stay interested in the material, it is beneficial for them to establish a personal connection to the material, and students will also be more likely to remember the information in the long run. Creating a more involved learning environment will also ensure that students don’t fall asleep in class, and the instructor will benefit from not having to pull teeth to get their learners to answer questions. So mix it up; add some interesting graphics or funny memes, and allow the learner to have fun, thereby increasing engagement. Your students will thank you in the long run, and you as the instructor will be excited to teach the old material in a new and exciting platform.
INCREASED EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Staff members and learners are not only able to collaborate more easily with each other and their instructor more readily through social networks, but are also able to quickly exchange information surrounding new technologies, discuss industry trends, and economic factors that influence success of the company. This exchange occurs in real-time, while websites are posting reviews and reactions to certain products. The web is rapidly changing, and if information is not exchanged within a certain time interval, it can become irrelevant within the same day that it was trending. Not only is the most relevant information exchanged in the most efficient time frame, this exchange of information also has the opportunity to occur in a more creative and innovative way.
INCREASED BRAND AWARENESS
Social networks can be a great way to introduce individuals to a particular brand. If individuals are unaware of your location or what services you provide, without being physically present, they are unable to utilize the important services provided by the organization. Utilizing social networks is an easy and efficient way to spread awareness about your brand to a large number of people, in a short amount of time. This works in sort of a word-of-mouth way, except that now this exchange of information is occurring across and within different social network platforms. People can spread information about your company in a way that does not make them feel as if they are going out of their way to do so, but are still letting others know about their new discoveries.
COLLABORATION KNOWS NO BOUNDS
Staff members within the company create a place where, when you see something that you feel may be of importance to another individual, you don’t have to confine this collaboration to a time and place. Information can be shared immediately, before you forget what you had to share, or before the information is no longer relevant. Utilizing social networks also allows for staff members to continue collaborating on a project outside of routine meetings or chance encounters in the hallway, and staff members are able to work on other projects simultaneously. This allows for greater production between staff members.
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM
Search engines can only provide you with facts, but social networks of individuals can help solve each other’s problems. This collaboration has the opportunity to be accelerated, when a more global approach is taken. This means that if someone in the office does not know the answer to a question or how to begin collaborating on a particular issue, there is at least one person in the network who knows a great deal more than other members, and can be a tool to help solve the question at hand.
LEARNING FROM OTHERS IN YOUR ORGANIZATION
Not only can we learn from others through creating and sharing, but very valuable information can be learned from other experts in the classroom and organization. Learning does not have to be confined to the classroom, there are many ways in which learning can effectively occur within an organization. Learners should be taught in new and creative ways so that the learner creates a personal connection from the expert. In order to ensure that every learner is gaining the most out of the collaboration, the information cannot simply be transmitted and that is it, other sides of the collaboration also need to be considered. In order to expand your customer base, it is important to cater to many types of learners.
Are there any other ways in which you believe that you have benefitted from utilizing social networks within and among an organization or learning environment? Let us know in the comments below!