Enterprise software and services giant IBM has benefitted from £2.5m a year in productivity savings since it implemented its social media strategy in 2007, according to the company.
The move saw the company make use of social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn to enable cross functional collaboration, and encouraged employees to use them regularly.
It also saw the company create small decentralised groups of marketing and non-marketing employees across disciplines, tasked with spreading the benefits of social media to employees and partners.
The marketing team also set the strategy and guidelines, trained and educated IBM employees on new technologies, and governed social media activity across the organisation.
The marketing team also encouraged experimentation with new technologies such as virtual events tied to major IBM functions.
As a result, adoption of social media among IBM employees skyrocketed and the company now has more than 80 IBM-branded Twitter handles delivering IBM news and messages. There are currently more than 500 IBM groups on Facebook encouraging communication among stakeholders.
IBM has also seen substantial savings due to reduced travel and communications costs by shifting the dialogue to virtual, more interactive platforms.
Analyst firm Forrester has released a report entitled 'IBM Makes Social Media The Responsibility Of Every Employee' examining the organisation's use of social media.
Jeff Ernst, principal analyst at Forrester, says that the move was a necessary one for the company because it wanted to convey a series of complex messages to diverse audiences; not an easy task for a marketing department alone.
He said: "[Companies should] begin using their core marketing staff, then implement social as a job responsibility for all employees," said Ernst.
"Creating a cultural affinity for social media allows employees to use both internal and external tools to build relationships and identify ways to improve the business. This creates efficiencies of scale and encourages best practices."
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