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Social networks are a powerful collaboration tool

Social networks may be the best tools for business collaboration, according to BT’s Customer Service Futurologist Dr. Nicola Millard. In a recent video interview, Millard said businesses should be embracing social media instead of shunning it.

Millard believes that the word “social” in social media has many businesspeople eschewing social networking in favor of e-mail and other traditional marketing strategies. “A lot of people interpret [social media] as fun play and not work,” she said. Those people are missing the point that social media is actually one of the most effective business collaboration tools.

It may be hard for some to understand why a business would attempt to recruit on Facebook, or make social networking any kind of priority. Millard said smart businesses engage in social media, “Because you’ve just recruited someone who can get a job, who can socialize, who can collaborate.”

Millard explained that social networking is a powerful collaboration tool compared to email, for instance, which she said some are calling a black hole of collaboration. She pointed out that cluttered email in-boxes are ubiquitous on the web today, and that businesses sending emailed messages are more likely to get lost in the fray.

According to Millard, the problem with email activities is that they depend on a willing and receptive target market of recipients. “You need to know who you want to collaborate with,” she said. Social media, on the other hand, is all about building a network of like-minded people.

Combining unified communication methods with social networking platforms

Millard said businesses need to understand the “hive mind” of social networking. “We call it network expertise,” she said. According to Millard, a business can start the social conversation simply by broadcasting a message asking “Who knows about this?”

Millard predicts the future of collaboration may be trending away from email. She said businesses may begin combining unified communication methods with social networking platforms to form a new business tool for collaboration.

Consumers have become quite adept at using social media to its greatest advantage, said Millard. Her professional opinion is that businesses need start to harnessing that power to enhance the way people collaborate. Social media should not be considered off limits for business. In fact, social networking may just be the most powerful collaboration tool available today.

And who are we to disagree? Read more about the new ways of collaboration – without email? – in our white paper, ‘The Zero Email Company’, below.

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