Analyst Gartner has identified five key approaches to succeeding with social media.
"Social media is not an end in and of itself, it is an enabler," said Anthony Bradley, group vice-president at Gartner. "Social media technologies are tools and - like any technology - it is how people use those tools that delivers business results."
According to Gartner social media efforts are failing, because some organisations do not understand how to employ social media to facilitate collective behaviours. The company has listed five tips for social media success:
1. Enable collective intelligence for operational effectiveness
Organisations looking to improve internal operational effectiveness through enhanced collaboration, especially around product delivery, customer service and creation of a corporate memory, should examine employing blogs and wikis.
2. Employ expertise location for sales effectiveness
Organisations seeking to improve sales effectiveness should assess social networking to enable expertise location behaviours associated with product delivery, product utilisation and customer service.
3. Unearth emergent structures for operational effectiveness
Emergent structures are structures that are unknown or unplanned prior to social interactions but emerge as activity progresses. Once organisations understand the value of social media and experience some initial success, then emergent structures become more appealing and the chances for success are higher.
5. Increase sales through interest cultivation
Gartner has found that organisations that have successfully facilitated interest cultivation have experienced stronger customer loyalty and increased customer engagement, leading to better brand awareness, increased customer feedback and increased sales.