Most of the literature on social media continues to focus on how it can be used outside of your business for engaging with customers. Increasingly however it is being used inside of organizations as they seek to become truly social organizations.
The following are some ways that you can use social media tools and philosophies in your organization.
Mass coordination –Flash-mobbing is the most obvious example of social media being used to coordinate large groups of people but there have also been instances such as the London riots and the Arab Spring.
It can also be used internally however. IBMfamously mobilized large numbers of employees in response to the tsunami that struck south-east Asia in 2004.
Emergent structures –With the global economy requiring speed of thought and flexibility of action it is increasingly difficult to plan project teams from the top down. Social media can be used to allow project teams to self organize, and by observing how these teams form the organization can gain a greater understanding of how things really work. The more effective this analysis is the more effective community managers can be at matching up people working on similar projects.
Collective intelligence –The wisdom of crowds is not a new concept but it is still surprisingly under-used in business settings, perhaps due to the hubris that continues to riddle many hierarchical management structures. Prediction markets are a great example of how companies can use collective intelligence to guide strategy by soliciting input from a wide range of people outside the ivory tower of the boardroom.
Expert finding –The flip side to collective intelligence is using social media to hunt down the best brain for a particular problem. Innocentive, an online innovation marketplace is one way to find an expert to solve a particular business problem.
Cultivating interest –One of the quirks of Innocentive is the number of problems solved by people operating outside of their area of expertise. Employees in your own organization will undoubtedly have many untapped talents as well, and it’s a sad reality that most of the time these talents are not just untapped but unknown to managers in those companies. You can use social media to bring out the talents not used in someone’s day job and encourage formulation of self-organizing teams that use the full potential of each employee rather than a mere fraction of it.
A few ideas there to get you thinking. What other ways can you use social media tools and philosophies inside your own organization?