If you’ve been wondering about the value of using social media, a new study provides quite the claim: $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value.
The McKinsey Global Insitute recently released a report, “The Social Economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies,” which found that effective social media usage could potentially contribute that much annually across four sectors:
- consumer packaged goods
- retail financial services
- advanced manufacturing, and
- professional services.
The study found that 72% of companies are using social technologies in some way but very few are using it to its full potential, adding that the most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped.
The study also suggests that companies using social technologies are doing so primarily for marketing, product development, and customer service. MGI suggests that much more value could be found if these technologies were applied to the aforementioned four sectors.
“MGI’s estimates suggest that by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent,” the study says.
Find your value
Of course, $1.3 trillion is a huge number, so one can hardly be blamed for tempering expectations, but the strategies MGI suggests are interesting to say the least. Social media and tech are widely being utilized for marketing and customer service, but the idea of using the technology for increasing productivity is a benefit that rarely gets talked about.
The study says that these values can be derived in different ways. For example, it would behoove companies that depend on influencing consumers to pay attention to social conversations about their brand/product/service and develop from there, thus cutting the cost of traditional research. Companies that have a high proportion of interaction between workers can see productivity improvements through faster internal communication and smoother collaboration.
MGI offers two pieces of advice for businesses wishing to tap into this potential value, and it has to do with laying down the groundwork:
- Become more open and non-hierarchical, and
- encourage full and enthusiastic participation of employees who are not afraid to share their thoughts.
The study says that establishing a culture of trust for effective social tech use is going to be more difficult than the work that follows. But MGI thinks it’s worth it.
What do you think? Is your business utilizing social technologies effectively? Or do you wish you were doing more? Let us know in the comments below.