5 Factors to Consider When Selecting Enterprise Social Tools

As companies have seen the massive adoption of social technologies by consumers and are looking at ways to leverage such tools in the corporate environment, many new and existing vendors are trying to establish themselves in, and capitalize on, the young and growing enterprise social software market. But with so many tools available, it can be hard to make the right choices for your business. While consumers can pick up and discard social tools at will, businesses need to be much more careful, as implementing the wrong tool could be costly.

What factors should you consider when selecting an enterprise social media tool for your business? According to the comprehensive new GigaOM Pro report, “Social Media in the Enterprise” (subscription required), you should:

  • Know what you want to achieve with your initiative. Social media tools can achieve a huge range of different tasks, from better internal collaboration to lead generation. What does your firm need to do?
  • Understand your organization’s culture and leadership. Social media won’t change an organization’s culture. Understanding the culture and leadership of your organization will have a huge impact on your requirements, choice of tool and how to implement and configure it.
  • Listen, watch, understand and interview or survey the constituent base that will be asked to participate in your social initiative. It’s important to figure out how your new social initiative will be received and used by the people you hope will utilize it. Make sure you have involvement and buy-in at an early stage, and understand your users’ needs.
  • Ensure that you have an effective resource and content plan in place to manage your community. Your new social software can enable an existing community or form new ones, but in order to be successful, communities need ongoing cultivation. Make sure that you have the resources and a plan in place to cultivate your community.
  • Initiate conversations with your legal, HR and IT teams early on, in order to understand the limitations and risks that may be associated with your initiative. As with any new business initiative, you should make sure that you understand the risks involved with implementing social software.

There’s plenty more useful detail in the full report, including categorization of the leaders in the enterprise social software space that helps to showcase the best options in this rapidly changing marketplace.

What factors did you consider when selecting social media tools for your business?