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Social media has changed the way friends and family members communicate with each other. Instead of placing a phone call or sending a text, many people choose instead to post a social media update to let everyone know what they’re up to at once. The concepts behind social platforms have begun slowly seeping into the business environment, powering the collaboration tools many businesses now use.

But collaboration software isn’t the only way social networking has changed the business environment. Through monitoring the way people interact on social media, businesses can actually learn how people enjoy interacting today. Here are several ways social media has transformed the way businesses operate.

Analytics

Businesses closely monitor the performance of their social media posts, adjusting their behaviors accordingly. This attention to analytics has moved to other areas of business operations, as well, including network performance and call center volumes. Analytics companies such as Nextiva have found that by providing the right tools, they can help companies quickly identify customer service issues and take action. They can also find inefficiencies and shift resources to make sure all areas are covered.

Storytelling

Studies have shown that storytelling is a more effective way to engage customers. That engagement has moved to the workplace, with managers finding that storytelling is an effective way to motivate employees. This starts with stressing the story behind the brand those employees work so hard to support each day. Each employee should know a business’s history, goals, and mission statement. When changes or new projects need to be introduced, employees will respond better if leaders sell it as a story, explaining the “why” behind changes or the goals the business will achieve by introducing a new product.

Brief Messaging

One of the biggest changes to workplaces has been the way we communicate. This change has impacted personal communications, as well. Attention spans have shrunk, with consumers losing interest quickly if someone doesn’t get to the point. As a result, daily workplace communications have changed, with employees increasingly using messaging apps instead of email. To hold everyone’s attention during meetings, leaders could try asking employees to share a brief update on their current projects, limiting their word count. Businesses don’t have to stick to Twitter’s 140-character limit, but if they can convince team members to provide one- or two-sentence updates, they may find employees enjoy meetings far more than when everyone speaks for five minutes on their latest projects.

Branding Emphasis

One thing social media forces businesses to think about is branding. The reputation they put online for the world to see can make the difference between winning customers and losing them to the competition. This same branding can be used in-house, with teams having their own distinct personalities. Employees should also be aware of the business’s current brand and make sure their daily efforts are helping support the reputation their employers are trying to portray.

Everything’s Visual

Social media has undergone a shift in recent years and consumers now demonstrate stronger reactions to visual online content. Experts say the brain processes images 60,000 faster than text, which has repercussions beyond a business’s marketing efforts. Instead of merely writing words on a whiteboard or sending out emails, a business may find it gets better results by bringing employees in for a PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate important concepts. If employees need training, a hands-on approach is likely to be more effective than handing employees a book or asking them to read a text-based online course.

Customer Service

As businesses scramble to provide customer service through their social media platforms, they’re also rethinking the way they communicate with customers. Representatives may find themselves looking up a customer online and learning more about that person before initiating a phone call. An employee may also look for common connections or review a customer’s call history to create a more personalized experience. This research-based approach simulates the social media experience, where users can easily look for common connections and gain insight into the lives of their online friends.

Businesses are always looking for exciting new ways to engage employees and improve morale. By reviewing the way they typically use social media, business leaders can create new ways to interact with their team members and create an environment where everyone feels comfortable.

About the Author: Dan Steiner is a technology entrepreneur, author, and marketing consultant. He is currently serves as CEO of security firm Online Virus Repair Inc., while also running Avila Web Firm, a web design and internet marketing agency based out of San Luis Obispo, California. Additionally, he is as an active mentor and volunteer at startup events throughout region. Get more from Dan on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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