A recent McKinsey study concludes that social technologies could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value to business.
That's welcome news to the jobs-starved economy. I say it's a natural progression of a truly ubiquitous business process. Social media started as a fad, then became a trend, and is now becoming fully integrated in the fabric of how we do business.
The study goes on to point out that "two-thirds of this potential value lies in improving collaboration and communication within and across enterprises." This is evidenced by Microsoft's acquisition of Yammer and Salesforce.com's purchase of Radian6. These are internal productivity tools that will integrate into current business processes.
Think of the jobs-creation these new tools might influence. First off, we need to educate both the workforce and the C-Suite on what social media is and how to access its power. I have been on an education mission to do this -- one CEO at a time. Next, enterprises will need to re-tool themselves to welcome the millennial workforce who takes access to social technologies as a given.
The study also states:
while 72 percent of companies use social technologies in some way, very few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit. In fact, the most powerful applications of social technologies in the global economy are largely untapped. Companies will go on developing ways to reach consumers through social technologies and gathering insights for product development, marketing, and customer service.
Again, this bodes well for jobs-creation in the social economy. Those with the skilled workforce will automatically be ahead of those who still think Twitter is silly.
Of course the investor class has always looked at productivity tools for the big bang (bet on the pick and shovel suppliers, not the starry-eyed gold miner). New productivity start-ups like the Richard Branson-backed My Social Cloud are garnering more attention as the romance with the next, new Pinterest-like start-up idea fades. We're seeing more and more investment in the infrastructure which means we're taking social media much more seriously.
Does your company have what it takes to be social? Time to start swinging those picks and shovels.
Beverly Macy is the host and executive producer of Gravity Summit TV and co-author of the best-seller The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She teaches Executive Global Marketing and Branding and Social Media Marketing for the UCLA Extension and speaks extensively on the subject of business and social media. email her at firstname.lastname@example.org