Social Media news around the world

Fewer than 30 of large organisations will block employee access to social media sites by 2014, compared with 50% in 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. The number of organizations blocking access to all social media is dropping by around 10 percent a year

Ford Motor Co.  is using social media to be more proactive with customer concerns for its biggest auto brand. The Ford brand’s eight, dedicated customer service agents use a customized search engine tool based on key words to monitor concerns, questions or comments on Twitter, Facebook, auto forums and message boards. Each issue is assigned to one agent until resolved

The HR team at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is taking a more proactive approach to recruitment. In addition to vetting applicants based on social profiles, they also head hunt potential employees via sites such as LinkedIn, said Debbie Brown, VP of HR for the Toronto-based hotel company

When Stephen Elop became Nokia‘s CEO, he used Socialcast to ask employees what needed to change. “The dialog not only helped him learn from the organization, but also signaled that a new type of relationship was dawning between the leadership and employees,” the Altimeter report said

Sales of Procter & Gamble’s  Pepto-Bismol had been flat or declining for several years when in 2010, P&G marketers noticed that social media chatter about the pink indigestion reliever was occurring on Saturday and Sunday mornings—presumably after users had overindulged the night before. So P&G decided to try to lure potential customers before their eating and drinking binges by touting the product on Facebook with the upbeat slogan “Celebrate Life.” The result was an 11 % market-share gain in the 12 months through fall 2011. The company that for generations has meticulously observed customers in their homes as they mop floors, apply makeup, and diaper babies is now listening to their conversations online. And for good reason: The 25- to 54-year-old women who buy the bulk of P&G’s products spend more time on Facebook than typical users. “For us, the real aha! was an incredible ability to listen to consumers much better, much faster, more broadly,” says Alex Tosolini, P&G’s head of e-business. “These days, social media is an integral part of brand building.”

Speaking at the Social Brands conference, Debbie Weinstein, Senior Director, Social Media Innovation, at Unilever, revealed that the FMCG giant has shifted away from using social media simply for fan acquisition. Weinstein said: “We are now looking to develop broader social CRM programmes and trigger advocacy through word of mouth.”

Social media tools like online portals and instant messaging are helping retailers more effectively share with their suppliers such information as consumer demand and on-time delivery performance, resulting in happier customers, fewer out-of-stock products and lower fulfillment costs, Aberdeen Group says in a new report. “Many retail and consumer markets supply chain professionals are turning to social networking to help communicate and collaborate within their supply chain,” Aberdeen, a unit of Harte-Hanks Inc., says in the report, “An Emerging Social Paradigm in the Retail and Consumer Markets.” The report adds: “While many are still uncertain of the real value of social networking within the supply chain, our data indicates that companies using social networking to support their supply chain operations perform better.” Among the results of social networking cited in the study:

Shipments were complete and on-time to customers 94.3% of the time, compared with 92.2% among those not using social networking.

An average out-of-stock rate of 3.4%, compared to 7.2% for those not using social networking;

A 2.4% year-over-year increase in fulfillment costs, compared to 4.3% for those not using social networking.

Given the risks inherent in global sourcing and the need for continual innovation in order to maintain a competitive advantage, supplier relationships must move beyond collaboration. The still-evolving demand for transparency in business requires ever-closer relationships with key suppliers. Building a community of suppliers where business-critical information, opportunities, and thoughts can be shared and built upon in real time will become the leading edge for many organizations. Social-media platforms are ripe to be the foundations for such communities

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