The Corporate Social Media Summit 2011 has wrapped up its two-day conference in New York, today featuring a whirlwind of expert speakers from companies such as Coca-Cola, American Express OPEN, Kodak, Marriott, AT&T, WWE, Aflac, and Cisco.
Discussion was consistent with the major talking points about brands and social media: ROI, customer engagement, strategy, and case studies galore from various campaigns. However, the big question remained, what’s next?
Andrew Warden, head of Strategy & Communications for Emerging Markets Services at Cisco Systems, has an idea of what the next wave of social media will be — internal brand engagement by getting more social within company ranks.
According to Warden, brands need to foster internal collaboration via more social intranets, open communication tools and initiatives. He made a compelling argument for improved social interactions within organizations, citing:
• Next Generation Workforce - Status updates, virtual check-ins, file-sharing and commenting are not only natural for today's workers — they are necessary.
• Faster, Easier Communication - Globalized markets and companies would benefit from an instant, interactive platform to communicate across time zones.
• Knowledge Management - By bringing social-networking platforms internal, companies can track and pre-empt what employees need to predict trends.
• Company Awareness → Brand Awareness - Social features can be integrated with current internal networks/intranets, creating a greater internal company awareness, which will lead to better external brand awareness.
• Mobile Collaboration – As mobile and tablet devices become more integrated into business and daily life, a collaborative app giving employees access to company information is a smart investment that's becoming more mainstream.
While Cisco's Quad product (at top; click here for a demo) aims to do all that and more, competitive products such as Jive and PBWorks aim to open intranetworking. Social networking and the enterprise should no longer act as oil and water, and it’s time for a new approach.