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Efficient communication – amongst a company’s staff, or between staff and clients, or again between sales and customers, or even between upper and lower management – is simply crucial. Investing in sales people is one way through which companies can develop effective and targeted communication. While all this is good, social media provides excellent tools to create both internal and external communication where and when it is hard to do it face-to-face, or when budgets for expensive communication campaigns are not available.
As we saw in the article Social Media Applications Guide, social media provides major opportunities for communication in business in four main ways: Meetings and conferencing, Sharing media, Location services and Broadcasting. Social media allows meetings to take place in a virtual environment; from your desk you can attend a meeting or conference with other people whether or not you are all in the same country.
Skype: this conferencing tool is a very good way to communicate with clients, customers, suppliers or employees.
Example: HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) has recently launched a set of webinars to explain tax obligation and payment processes for the businesses and the self-employed  (HMRC webinars). This aspect of social media makes it possible and easy to share different kinds of content like documents, videos, audios, pictures and presentations slides among others.
Flickr: this is a photo management tool that allows the sharing of pictures across the web. Example: Starbucks used Foursquare to allow mayors – those Foursquare users who ‘check in’ the most frequently at a certain location, in this case, at a Starbucks coffee shop – to get a discounted price on a Frappuccino. Example: Wells Fargo is an international financial services company, operating in many different parts of the world. If you kept up with our last blog series, you'll remember that we capped that post with the advice that you should join us in the digital age—market yourself online! This isn't an idle call to action—an online presence is vital to the success of your business. In 2012, reports showed that 60% of Fortune 500 companies were active across platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Fast forward just two years, and now 80% utilise these social media platforms, not to mention the whopping 97% of companies active on LinkedIn. Connect with every professional acquaintance you can think of on LinkedIn—especially former employers or customers who might give you endorsements. Follow people on Twitter, especially companies that might come calling for the services you offer. Join Facebook groups that relate to your industry, and send out a notice to your friends and family that you're up for hire. The more tempting advice here is "be creative," but that might be more or less relevant depending on your industry. If you find the thought of maintaining a blog daunting, try turning it into tool that showcases your knowledge in your field. You can use also use different platforms to showcase different aspects of your personality: LinkedIn might display your professional acumen, while your personality shines through on Facebook.
A small, but important note, especially if you already use social media personally, is to keep your business accounts separate. According to Forbes, 34% of employers perusing social media sites have rejected candidates based on their profiles. Haefner offers some more sage advice: "If you choose to share content publicly on social media, make sure it's working to your advantage. Visit our QuickBooks Self-Employed page for more resources on the challenges of working for yourself.
The item you have requested is not currently available in English and you have been redirected to the next available page. British Airways has recently taken a big step forward in its business strategy by integrating ‘Know Me’: a new recognition system that has been incorporated into the organization’s internal operations. The program is designed to collect as much information as possible about customers’ experiences with the airline, thus acting along the same principles of a social media platform.
The system gathers all sorts of information related to the travel experiences of BA customers, from problems a customer may have had with BA in the past to whether a customer is flying with the airline for the very first time. After absorbing all this data, Know Me acts like a centralized system by feeding the information to various parts of the airline team, through mobile devices such as iPads. By transferring all this information to the airline team, staff becomes able to know individual customers’ experiences instantly and then provide customer service to each individual accordingly.

For instance, if the staff sees that a customer experienced a particular problem in the past, it will be able to pay extra attention to that customer for such an incident not to be repeated.
Or, if the staff sees that a member is going to fly on the airline for the very first time, it can go the extra mile to give a warm welcome and express its hope that the customer will enjoy the airline’s services, before the customer has even boarded the aircraft.
By tailoring customer service towards each customer, the airline can hence show its customers that it is really listening to them and improving their experiences, and by doing so hopes to achieve a better performance in its overall customer service. The system works both ways as well: by sending information to staff, but also by allowing staff to send new information to the program as well, thus enlarging the volume of data on the airline’s customers and helping to create an ever-increasing personalized service.
Jo Boswell, British Airways’ head of customer analysis, explains that ‘we’re essentially trying to recreate the feeling of recognition you get in a favorite restaurant when you’re welcomed there, but in our case it will be delivered by thousands of staff to millions of customers.
This new recognition system, combined with mobile technology, has allowed the airline to achieve both increased insight into their customers, and to coordinate this valuable information efficiently within its internal organization – thus creating more competitive advantage for itself within the industry.
To further your interest in social media in business; join us at our webinar in January 2013.
Ita€™s hard to believe how drastically social networks like Facebook have evolved since their debut. In the last 10 years, social media marketing has become a huge opportunity for businesses of all sizes. A business without successful internal and external communication is a business that will gradually degrade. Monthly meetings amongst staff are another way to allow some interaction between all employees and catch up on a month’s business. On top of that, social media provides the opportunity to enhance communication with additional features such as images and videos, as well as heavily increase the number of people the message is communicated to. This means that business can carry on without the need to be geographically in the same place. HMRC offers both live and pre-recorded webinar presentations on several different tax-related issues. So again here, what social media adds to simple face-to-face communication is that it diversifies communication types, but also that it can transmit all these different kinds of contents to a very wide audience, at any time. The site is visited by millions of people every single day and has about 2 million views per day, according to the site.
Flickr not only makes it very easy to share large files like pictures or thread of pictures, but makes your pictures visible to a very wide audience and in turn, gives access to others’ pictures from around the word.
But the point here is that Ford has 290 pages and each page has more than 12 pictures on it.
Location services detect the location of users through their smartphones, and then transmit different kinds of information related to that particular location to the users’ smartphones.
Users can ‘check in’ at venues through their mobiles and share their location with other users using the service.
This strategy boosted competition for the mayor rewards, and as a result, it made more people go to their local Starbucks store. Webcasting is a very useful tool for companies dealing with time-sensitive issues, or with those who want to communicate with customers or clients live in order to engage with them in a more interactive way. What is useful is to create regular series of these shows in order to attract and maintain subscribers on a steady basis. So, if you feel like a fish out of water or if you're already computer savvy, but looking for more tips on how to market yourself on the web, this article’s for you.
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter continue to be relevant, but these past few years have also seen a huge spike in Pinterest and Foursquare users.
This can be as literal as developing a logo and sales pitch, or as simple as identifying what you want to get out of your business. Where tweeting your own content exclusively and never retweeting others comes across as narcissistic, a blog gives you free rein and lets you gather your thoughts in one place. Blog about recent work, compare and contrast related brands, and maybe write simple "how-to" posts that will generate some interest and establish you as an expert.
When you find content that relates to your industry, make sure that you reply to those blog articles, retweet that content, or "like" those Facebook posts.
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The information is thus able to reach different groups of the airline like the check-in staff, the cabin crew and the customer service agents, among others. Thus, Know Me helps create a tailored customer service molded differently around each specific customer.
And the early results have been extremely positive, our customers love being recognized and treated as an individual and our customer service staff and cabin crew feel empowered to deliver a really bespoke service.
Conferences are yet another method through which a company can communicate its vision to potential clients.
Therefore, using social media for your business to create and enhance communication might take you many steps ahead of your competitors.
This of course does not mean that face-to-face communication is not useful, but what it does mean is that something that is usually impossible simply becomes possible, and that business can actually take place when it could not without social media. These HMRC webinars can reach anyone who has a query on tax processes, while at the same time avoiding possible mistakes that HMRC employees could make when explaining tax matters.
Now just imagine what kind of impact a popular video you post there can have on your business.
Instead of putting some pictures on its website, the company decided to put thousands of them on Flickr, which already has a huge pool of users.
In order to find out whether these blenders had a potential to sell within the consumer market, the company created YouTube videos to show how the blender works.
Businesses which participate in location services get the chance to connect with local customers and increase traffic towards their website. This mega service allows users to share their whereabouts, making it possible to see where friends are ‘checked in’ at any given time. The live factor of this social media application makes it very close to direct face-to-face communication, except (1) that what can be communicated can be anything from a simple conversation to a large-scale musical performance, and (2) that it can reach many more people across geographical boundaries, and (3) perhaps obvious but crucial, that it is a very affordable way to communicate live. This allows a feasible, cost-effective solution to circulate information quickly – creating competitive advantage for the company in the time-sensitive industry .
Maybe you want to sell the best pastries in the UK or deliver a carpentry service that outstrips your competitors when it comes to detail and passion.
Write professional profiles that identify you, your passions, your trade, and your job history. Establish yourself as a fixture in the industry, and show that you're active and conscious of the people around you. The latter will allow staff members to retrieve customer pictures via tools like Google Images in order to help them recognize their customers as they see them, whether in the airport or aircraft, and take the initiative to approach them. This is just the start though – the system has a myriad of possibilities for the future’. Also, this will reduce the general hassle of getting hold of the right person and help make the whole understanding process much easier. So by doing so, the company exposed its cars to many more people, increased brand awareness and increased traffic towards their own website.
The entertaining way in which these blenders are presented to the public created a sensational reaction amongst the online community, with millions of views and a dramatic increase in sales. On top of this, they get the crucial opportunity to create a pool of locals who can come back to a venue if they liked it.
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More than that is the great advantage of pre-corded webinars: they are accessible at anytime, which means that you do not have to wait in telephone queues for someone to answer your query, reducing the load on customer service as well. Loyalty programs can be devised to reward customers who indeed come back, attracting increasingly more regulars by doing so.
For example LinkedIn allows you to wax on about your expertise, whereas Twitter is designed for brevity.

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