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Do Enterprises 'Get' Social Media?

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Posted January 19, 2011 By David Needle     Feedback

The author of the new book "Enterprise Social Technology" argues that enterprises need to hop on the social networking bandwagon before it's too late.

"Wake up and smell the tweets!"

That's not a quote by Scott Klososky, author of the new book "Enterprise Social Technology," but perhaps he'd agree with the sentiment.

Klososky, who's been working in IT for over 30 years, has fully embraced social networking in his business and is a strong believer that enterprises are missing the boat if they don't follow suit.

"There is no question most enterprises aren't leveraging social networking, most companies can't even define what social technologies are," Klososky told "I spend my life working with companies and 95 percent of them can't define it. They believe that if they're on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter that's it — nothing about things like online content management and reputation management. But it really is about more than having a Facebook fan page."

Klososky walked the walk in producing "Enterprise Social Technology" by using crowd-sourcing for much of the content. "I wrote the first and last chapter and outsourced the rest," he said.

About 600 people expressed interest in writing a chapter for the book, kind of a how-to guide to social networking for the enterprise. After reviewing writing samples, the list was winnowed down and the finalists were paid $1,000 for each chapter. "We picked the best entries and rewrote and edited to get a consistent voice," he said. "I was shocked by how quickly we were able to put together a robust book."

While he's seen plenty of technologies rise and fall in popularity, Klososky said he's frustrated by the inability of so many companies to recognize the inherent value of social media.

"The dynamic is that the younger employees are typically the early adopters, but they don’t have the power and they're told by management things like it's a waste of time or a security threat," said Klososky. "Are there security issues? Sure. But when we had PCs with floppies that people could store sensitive information on and pass around, did we throw away the PCs?"

Why social media pays off

So what message does he have for IT departments and CIOs reluctant to invest in social media?

"I would say the biggest benefit is all about connecting people at a price and scale we've never had and at a speed we've never had," he said. "There are two ways social media can be leveraged. One is to drive top line revenue and bring in new customers by socially connected buying and selling both in B2B and B2C instances. And in a complex sale, you can leverage social media to facilitate selling."

"The other advantage internally for companies is that they can use social media to improve virtual teams and use things like crowd-sourcing to reduce costs."

Enterprises can benefit by using consumer social networks like Facebook and Twitter to communicate and market to customers and separate, enterprise-specific social media tools internally, he said. "Depending on how large you are, it makes sense to use both, an enterprise-class product like Yammer rather than Twitter internally, and Facebook externally," said Klososky.

While some companies restrict employee's use of social media, Klososky said that's a losing battle. "If you restrict use, that just forces them onto their mobile device," he said. "I tell clients that instead of blocking access, monitor use and then just alert them if they're spending too much time on sites or services that aren't helping them do their job."

Klososky said that Enterprise Social Technology mirrors a 12-step process for bringing social technology into a business, including steps like identifying goals and assembling a social tech team, how to integrate social tech with your company's Web properties, and another chapter on integrating social tech into the sales process.

Enterprise Social Technology has its own website where you can find out more information about the book and view intros to all the chapters.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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