Social media's impact on business
Social media started as a platform enabling young people to network online. Since then, it has morphed into a world-changing phenomenon. Around 25% of the planet’s 7.1 billion people use social media today and, by 2017, this number is expected to reach a staggering 2.55 billion.
In our recent report, The Seven Billion Faces of Social Media, we shared how the explosion in social media usage has started to profoundly affect businesses and governments, and how it will continue to re-shape how these entities behave and interact with their communities.
By leveraging social intelligence capabilities, organisations have begun studying the data generated by social media and predicting what consumers want before they are even aware of it themselves. At the same time, the power of the social media ‘crowd’ to challenge governments will continue to grow. And the influence that ‘hyper-connected’ individuals have on their millions of online followers will transform businesses’ traditional approaches to engaging with their markets.
While many businesses are already exploring how they can use social intelligence to drive sales and build their brands in new ways, many have not yet fully considered the positive difference it can make to their HR, organisational development and talent management activities. So far, most of the focus has been on leveraging social media to drive recruitment decisions – for example, most if not all recruitment agencies and functions use sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to find and screen talent.
If, as an organisation, you can harness the power of social media, you have an opportunity to drive efficiency and effectiveness across your HR decision-making. This should be of particular importance to companies in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, which boasts the fastest growing population of digital natives (those that have used digital technology their entire lives and are always connected through social media). This group is expected to reach 209.4 million in the region by 2017 and 700 million by 2050 – making them the future lifeblood of companies throughout MEA and positioning social media as a powerful tool to tap into this dynamic market.