Social business (enterprise social networking) represents a new transformational opportunity for organizations. After initial forays into external social media, now many companies discover the value of applying social networking approaches, internally as well as externally. Social business can create valued customer experiences, increase workforce productivity and effectiveness and accelerate innovation. But many companies still wrestle with the organisational and cultural challenges posed by these new ways of work.
Businesses move from liking to leading when they look beyond social media to see how social technologies drive real business value. From marketing and sales to product and service innovation, enterprise social networking is changing the way people connect and the way organizations succeed.
Why enterprise social networking works
When you inspire your workforce to innovate and collaborate more productively, you create tangible business value. When you anticipate needs and deliver exceptional experiences, you delight your customers and create advocates. When you integrate your business processes with the right social tools, you secure a competitive advantage and pioneer new ways of doing business.
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Here‘s what IBM claims as benefits of integrating social networking tools into enterprises:
Human resources – Increase company performance: 26% more revenue per employee 
- Engage the right people – Source talent by leveraging social networks and connect employees to improve enablement.
- Motivate and empower – Improve employee engagement, motivation and effectiveness.
- Foster success – Identify critical issues and address them with speed.
Marketing – Influence what customers will buy next: 81% received product purchase advice from friends and followers through a social site 
- Target more effectively – Address individuals and build advocacy at every touchpoint.
- Drive loyalty – Engage customers in dynamic, personalized experiences to keep them coming back.
- Build your brand – Help your team execute consistently across all channels and with every engagement.
Sales – Close more deals: 40%year–over–year increase in new business 
- Empower your team – Connect sellers with the right experts and information to anticipate and meet clients’ needs.
- Build relationships – Connect client, transaction and social data so you know your customers better than the competition.
- Connect with clients – Engage with clients in new ways through dedicated communities.
Customer service – Grow profitably: 5% reduction in customer defection , 25%–125% increase in profits 
- Anticipate problems – Listen and analyze customer feedback to understand emerging issues.
- Respond faster – Find the right information and experts required to address issues as they emerge.
- Enable self-service – Help clients find the answers they need 24/7.
Product and service innovation – Innovate faster: 2/3 less time to take new products to market 
- Collaborate beyond borders – Form global internal communities of interest to tackle common challenges.
- Unlock innovation – Improve productivity by tapping into the collective intelligence inside and outside the organization.
- Break down silos – Share intellectual capital and content with the people who need it.
Sources:  McKinsey,  ClickZ,  VCC case study,  Bain & Company,  The compelling returns from IBM Connections in support of social business, Thought Leadership White Paper