Social media has changed everything about the way people communicate and work together, so it's not surprising that IT vendors and corporations see social media's potential for revolutionizing communications in enterprises too.
Social collaboration, social media data mining, social CRM, customer service, marketing and sales intelligence are just some of the ways that businesses are using social media data and tools.
And while companies have used the social model to change their own internal processes, what might be most interesting is what they're doing with all the social media postings by consumers.
Consumers have seized on social media as a way to share information about products and services they like - or don't like - offering their opinions and complaints through tweets, Facebook postings, online reviews and other very public venues. This has led to a radical change in customer service; instead of hearing complaints directly from customers, companies now often read them first on the Web and are forced to react.
This new paradigm has led to the rise of social CRM and social media monitoring and mining tools. Companies now mine social media postings for competitive intelligence, trolling for customer complaints that they can respond to quickly, monitoring their brand reputation, and searching for unhappy customers of competitors. And employees who can successfully manage all these tasks are in high demand.
Call center, CRM and analytics companies are all fighting for a share of this new market.
The Rise of the Social Enterprise
Within companies, the change has in some cases been just as profound. These new "social enterprises" are using the collaborative and rapid communication abilities of social tools to create environments where projects and decisions are more collaborative, and anyone from the newest hire to the CEO can offer critical insights and solutions. These collaborative apps are modeled after popular social media apps like Facebook and can have the effect of "flattening the org chart" by giving employees access to broader resources within the company and a greater opportunity to contribute.