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How to Put Together a Social Media Communication Plan to Enhance UCC

May 28, 2017

Social media is part of the growing digital transformation taking place in enterprises. Enterprise social media is the strategic integration of social software and collaborative technologies into an enterprise's intranet, extranet and business processes. In a recent survey, 45 percent of enterprises said social media is "important" to their business strategy and 73 percent expect it to become "critical or very important" within three years. Another survey shows that employees will experience up to 25% less time spent on emails, 35% less time searching for information and 20-25% improvement in knowledge worker productivity. So how can VARs help guide enterprises in developing a social media communication plan to enhance their unified communication and collaboration?

  • VARs need to be sure that the enterprise collaboration platform they are offering lives up to the expectations of employees who already use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. When an enterprise implements social collaboration software that doesn’t work the way that users want, they aren’t going to use it. Social collaboration software must be user-friendly.

  • Social collaboration software needs to work across enterprise systems to allow users to find each other, network with powerful search capabilities with a seamless experience across devices. VARs should explain the benefits of these proficiencies and demonstrate the value to enterprise customers.

  • VARs should explain to customers that collaboration has changed. Email for collaboration produces lag time and users may forget to include all the right people on a thread. An intranet can be hard to use and is typically just a repository for information. Information becomes outdated quickly and employees stop using the intranet since it has lost its value.

In order for a social network inside a company to succeed, it needs clearly defined business objectives and approval from senior management. The social component should add efficiency and transparency to existing business processes. VARs should be communicating with senior management to help develop a social media plan and give them the following advice:

  • Create a Mandate – The first step should a mandate from senior management to apply social networking conventions to real business topics so that members understand that using these tools is not an option.

  • Establish a Strategy – The next step is to determine how to achieve the defined objectives. All interested parties in the project should be involved. It is important to define usage guidelines, determine the communities required and which community managers should own them.

  • Establish Communities – Once the implementation strategy has been defined, the social network should be implemented. Initial community participants should also be determined in this step. Without a clear strategy, users are likely to be inconsistent in adoption.

  • Determine and Post Content – Define a set of best practices for users and businesses to populate the network with content that gives them a reason to join and use.

  • Spur Participation – Give all employees a chance to join communities in the network to justify time spent learning how to use it and understand the objectives of the project.

  • Accelerate Adoption – Encouragement with consistent instruction from senior management can lead to increased participation and adoption.

  • Benchmark Success – Measuring usage should be performed on an on-going basis throughout the project and should be considered when planning strategy. Enterprises should target continual improvement in levels of participation and engagement in the social network.

If an enterprise’s strategy isn’t well defined from the beginning, success may be fleeting. Organizing the project into short cycles of a few months at a time can help ensure that restorative action can be taken before assessments of enterprise social networking become weakened by not achieving adoption goals. The efficiency and transparency created by working socially will have a positive impact on the enterprise’s bottom line, so the effort is well worth it. If VARs can effectively communicate these points to customers, profitability will be gained across the board.

Are there enterprise social network topics that should be discussed in this blog? Please comment below.