How Can Social Media and Unified Communications Work Together?

How Can Social Media and Unified Communications Work Together?

At first glance, the idea of social media and unified communications (UC) together as a partnership may not seem like the obvious choice. The casual outlook and nature of social media, filled with text lingo, personal opinions and photos of your weekend doesn’t seem like the perfect match for the more formal demeanor of UC, which is filled with conference calls and meeting notices. However, in reality, these two very different, but also very similar partnerships, are coming together in order to offer their users the best of both worlds. We’ve taken a look at how unified communications and social media are coming together to create a communication process which is quicker, easier and more efficient:

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Unified Communications

Unified communications (UC) signifies the integration of a variety of different communication systems. For example: instant messaging (IM), VoIP calling technology, e-mail, video conferencing and telephone calls. UC is not simply one single product, but a platform which works to integrate this range of different communication services with user presence or with available information in order to simplify the ability of users to connect with colleagues. There is little doubt that more and more companies are fully embracing UC. According to recent studies, around 98% of Fortune 1000 companies have already started using UC or plan to within the next two years. The benefits of consolidating email, video conferencing, voice calling and IM into one single easy to use platform are clear to see. UC products, such as Cisco Medianet, make it easier for both employers and employees to have access to a range of different communication methods depending on what the interaction requires.

Social Media

At the same time, more and more companies are using social media to their advantage when it comes to external communications. Whether it be for the purpose of marketing outreach or for recruitment, social media has played a significant part when it comes to reaching out to communities and target audiences outside of the company. Along with that, many businesses are also using social media for the purpose of keeping their own employees more connected and collaborative, leading to higher levels of efficiency and productivity.

Integrating UC and Social Media

When integrated within a unified communications platform, the functionality of social media can be harnessed in a manner which is both secure and controlled, something which is extremely appealing to a number of businesses. There are two separate approaches to the integration of UC and social media. Many companies are finding new ways to work alongside the social networking sites which users are already comfortable and familiar with, such as Facebook or Twitter. These services come with presence availability features, mobile friendliness and voice calling features which are set in a familiar setting and interface, which makes it easier for employees to get used to.

Enterprise Grade Social Services

Rather than integrating with and working alongside social media, there is another alternative to a collaboration between the two. This comes in the shape of a number of enterprise grade social services, which are emerging more and more often today. For example, Cisco has created an internal platform, known as MyCisco, which employees can use to catch up on the latest information about tasks, messages and news feeds while also giving them the opportunity to connect and participate in colleague communities.

Why The Two Work

Using social media and UC together may at first glance seem a little mismatched, but there’s no denying that the two have many benefits and could be made to work together to improve communications in the workplace, encourage teamwork and collaboration, and make being more productive and efficient easier than ever. Along with UC solutions which work alongside popular social media networks that colleagues are already familiar with such as Facebook or Twitter, UC and social media can also come together when companies come up with their own, company wide social networking system for the exclusive use of employees. This provides all staff members with the opportunity to quickly and easily see who is available right now, get help, advice, provide feedback, discuss, and more.

Whatever the method, it’s quite clear that UC and social media will end up coming together at some point in the near future. This is especially important today where the distributed workforce is gaining popularity and tools are required for effective communication more often.
 
 

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