Corporate India caught in the social media wave
Working with the customers through social media is the next level after reach has been established
The professional networking portal LinkedIn crossed 200 million users last week, with 18 million users from India alone. A reinforcement of the fact that social media is integral to our future.
18 million LinkedIn users. 60 million Facebook profiles. 20 million Twitter handles. Those are the top 3 social media numbers for India today. Global statistics reported by InSites Consulting suggest more than 7 out of 10 internet users are members of at least one social network, implying that over 1.5 billion people use social networking websites. More importantly, at least 50% of these users are in the age group of 25-50 years, the typical career span of an individual. What are some of the new things that corporate India is gearing-up for, in this space of social media?
• Tweet a job: Twitter is one of the fastest social media channels. One of the companies that has been able to successfully use twitter for the purpose of recruitment is Dell. The social media advisor for Dell India, Aadil Bandukwala says, “Through Twitter, what recruiters can do is build a passive pipeline of candidates. Once this is done, recruiters can start interacting with people and build a passive community.” Recruiters should note that this talent pool need not be hired today, but for all you know, once you start interacting – there will be a whole lot of people available when there are positions down the line. This medium of building connections can further be used to accelerate brand engagement as well.
• Collaborate with the customer: Working with the customers through social media is the next level after reach has been established. Social media is a direct channel to ask your customers what they are looking for. Discussions and suggestions on social media forums help companies understand what the customer needs are. This further provides inputs to strategists who create market strategies for the business, highlighting the collaborative potential. Also, many consumer-oriented as well as services companies now offer solutions through their social media platforms. The most common examples are the mobile service providers in the country. For instance, not only does TATA’s Docomo have the highest number of ‘likes’ on Facebook, there are teams responsible for handling complaints, queries and requests from customers that come through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.
• Open and transparent workplace: Numerous multinational companies have recently allowed social networking websites at the workplace promoting an open culture. Shivani Sachdeva, a senior analyst from Aon Hewitt affirms, “Access to social media websites at work has definitely fostered an open environment. Now we don’t spend time looking into our phones if we need to check that one update on facebook.” An open and transparent workplace is pivotal to employee engagement. Sangeeta Lala of TeamLease advises, “With respect to social media at the workplace, it is about empowering your employees to do what they can do rather than making a prohibitive list of things they can’t.”
• Be smart with smartphone applications: Smartphones are addictive but it’s hard to deny the usefulness of the devices. In a mature market like US, three quarters of the IT decision-makers surveyed by the IT company CDW Corporation, said smartphones and tablets are boosting employee productivity and saving companies money. Currently, most Indian companies are using mobile apps to promote their businesses while the trend of connecting with the employee on-the-go as well as prospective employees is picking up. For instance, there are apps created by job search engines that provide alerts whenever a suitable job is posted. Many companies that do not outsource recruitment are willing to do the same. SAP, the IT giant, has a plethora of mobile apps from employee directories to ones that help with HR approvals, timesheet completion, expense reporting while traveling officially etc.