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IBM Gets Social

IBM Seeks to Engage Individuals Through Social Media

IBM Seeks to Engage Individuals Through Social Media
Social Media Profiles
http://www.ibmsystemsmag.com/power/web20/social_media_profiles/

Say “social business” and many companies think Facebook page or Twitter account. But being a true social business is much more than that—it spurs employees be more effective, engages customers, and improves the quality and speed of operations. Rather than using social media as just a way to gain fans or followers, a social business uses software and hardware tools to create new pathways centered on people and relationships, helping to solve the persistent challenge of accomplishing tasks faster, making smarter decisions and inspiring new ideas.

IBM is highly engaged in social business, setting the bar while other companies still struggle to get on board. To find out more, IBM Systems Magazine turned to IBM’s David Bruce, Power Systems category marketing manager.

Q. How is IBM a social business?
A. We’ve taken this idea of social and business integration and tried to incorporate it into every aspect of IBM. We perform social research; we communicate with customers through social venues; we provide support via social forums; we have supply-chain activity that’s social. IBM even goes so far as to incorporate social into our products. Not every business can do that, but we have a set of products that works socially. We have software that’s designed to be used in a social way, such as Lotus Connections. IBM even has executives in place who focus solely on IBM being a social business. Very recently, we’ve created a program called IBM Champions that helps our socially engaged community leaders be a bigger part of the online conversation and increase their sphere of influence.

Q. Is social networking more than just having a Facebook page or Twitter account?
A. Absolutely. Businesses often use tools like those as a megaphone and think they’re being social but that’s an oversimplification. Some businesses have just moved from paper mail to email to the Internet. They’ve taken a direct-marketing model and transferred it online. But that’s just scratching the surface.

Being a social business is like having a conversation with your neighbors. If all you ever do is open your window and shout information at your neighbors’ house, that’s not really social; that’s just sort of giving them direction or telling them about something that might be important to them. Whereas with social, you’re both leaning on the fence in the backyard having a conversation, and the conversation is shaped and changes based on what each of you say. I think you look at a social business the same way. It’s not really about communication using old practices with new tools; it’s that we use social to reshape the way communication takes place. It becomes multidirectional with social. When I’ve talked with folks about social business and social marketing, I’ve called it a one-on-one model using one-on-many tools, because you really can have a one-on-one conversation but you’re using tools that allow everyone else who’s following the discussion to listen in. It’s both personal and powerful at the same time.

Tami Deedrick is the former managing editor of IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition.


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IBM Gets Social

IBM Seeks to Engage Individuals Through Social Media

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