Social media could add $1.3 trillion to the global economy, if businesses would only get their buzz on and start using social networks to their full potential.
That’s according to a new study by management consulting firm McKinsey Global Institute. The $1.3 trillion is ready for the taking for businesses in four sectors: consumer packaged goods, retail financial services, advanced manufacturing, and professional services.
The pie is right there, looking as delicious as it tastes, waiting for you to take a slice.
What can you do to dig in and start eating?
- Jump on the social media bandwagon. McKinsey found that 28% of companies have yet to even sign up for social media. Facebook has been around for six years now, and Twitter for nearly as long. What are you waiting for?
- Ditch emails for internal social networks. Services such as Yammer combine the social environment of Facebook with the privacy of email. Employees spend half their working life on email or searching for internal messages. Social media speeds things up, freeing up time for more important work projects. As McKinskey says:
“When companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35 percent, the time employees spend searching for company information. Additional value can be realized through faster, more efficient, more effective collaboration, both within and between enterprises.”
- Foster a culture of sharing. Much of the value of social media comes from getting employees to work together and share ideas. For big commerce, use to hierarchical structures, this means reshaping your business to give it more openness and soul. According to the report:
“To reap the full benefit of social technologies, organizations must transform their structures, processes, and cultures: they will need to become more open and nonhierarchical and to create a culture of trust. Ultimately, the power of social technologies hinges on the full and enthusiastic participation of employees who are not afraid to share their thoughts and trust that their contributions will be respected. Creating these conditions will be far more challenging than implementing the technologies themselves.”
- Keep Learning. “Very few [companies] are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit” of social media, McKinsey said. Social media changes month-to-month, so be sure you’re keeping up to date with the latest trends
- Get up close and personal. Social networks give everyone hundreds, if not thousands, of informal connections. Online networking is the future. Or, as McKinsey puts it in business speak:
“Social technologies can “disintermediate” commercial relationships and upend traditional business models.”
- Listen. By monitoring social media channels (e.g. using Twilert or Topsy) you can find exactly what your customers want. McKinsey estimates what businesses find on social networks will be worth up to 20% of their current spend on market research. Mckinsey says social networks can provide
“more genuine and timely insights into consumer preferences and trends”
(as unlike market research interviews, conversations on social media are unprompted and unfiltered.)
Other key findings include:
- One third of consumer spending could be influenced by social shopping
- Social media could improve the productivity of knowledge workers by 25%
That all sounds mouthwateringly delicious to me. For more tasty treats, you can download the full report here.
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