Marc is Founder & CEO of HRN, HR Tech World, disruptHR and iRecruit.

Across every industry there lies enormous potential to add more value through implementing social technologies from better customer insights, improved marketing to social commerce.Here are 10 ways social technologies are adding value that are revealed by the study from McKinsey. The potential value of this transformation has been estimated by a study from McKinsey Global Institute as having a value of up to $1.3 trillion across just the 4 industries that they studied. (Social Enterprise 2012 for HR Leaders in Amsterdam). DOWNLOAD a copy of the McKinsey Report on HR Tech Europe Slideshare Channel!

10 Ways Social Technologies Add Value

1. Co-Create Products

Companies using social platforms can crowd source ideas from their consumer community. This could  include product ideas, evaluation of the ideas by the crowd and the continuing modification and evolution of the products and services to produce a better product that better meets needs. It could include consumers submitting designs.

2. Demand Forecasting

Through multiplying the the potential sources of information about demand, companies can obtain more accurate and granular data. This could lead to better inventory control and better placement of stock where local demand is higher. The buzz from social networks can help pinpoint where the first responders are and allow staff to redirect additional stock to the highest buzz spots.

3. Distributing Business Processes

Companies such as TomTom and Google Maps are using inout from users to locate and qualify mapping errors and the latest updates to road networks. TomTom is even now adding crowdsourced  real time traffic flow to its service that provides the latest data on traffic jams and accidents provided by users from their cars.

4. Market Research

Market research can be costly and take months but now you can gather online chatter about your competitors in real time. There are now tools that can measure sentiment as it happens that allows companies to see if the latest feedback about a product is positive or negative. Brand health can be now checked by the “Chatter” tone online.

5. Marketing Communications

Marketing interaction was limited in the past to snail mail and was costly and slow. Now we have communication that is effectively close to zero cost and provides feedback in minutes. You can see what types of marketing communications are engaging and what aren’t. Online customer communities are being created by the savvy enterprise with Adobe’s forums having one million members.

Social Collaboration & Communication will raise productivity by 20-25%

6. Lead Generation

Sales opportunities required telemarketing and expensive advertising to make the phone ring. B2B companies are now discovering the power of social networks to attract customers and drive inbound inquiries. Displaying a companies expertise via blogs and online whitepapers and ebooks are transforming how professional services companies market their business. Software companies such as Hubspot have created online tools that allow companies to become much more efficient with their marketing.

7. Social Commerce

All of us listen to the recommendations of friends and family and social commerce allows companies to make it easy for their consumers to share what they have bought or “like”. This amplifies the marketing message and also improves conversion for online stores.

8. Customer Care

Companies such as SouthWest Airlines use channels like Twitter to respond to potential PR issues that are quickly diffused before they turn into public relations disasters. Agencies and larger brands are monitoring social media channels with community managers who monitor social networks such as Facebook to turn customer care problems into opportunities to impress customers with the speed of the response.

9. Collaboration

Social technologies are improving organisational performance by making collaboration and co-creation efficient both internally and with external suppliers and partners. This reduces time spent in face to face meeting and ensuring that best practice is followed and shared. Companies such as 37Signals uses social technologies to run a multimillion dollar company that operates with only 16 employees and is spread across 6 countries. Also big data tools, social and talent analytics provide insight into team performances – for example why one team performs significantly better than another – this happens all the time – understanding all the factors at play mining through the data and perhaps the gray ares or regression analysis trumps up information that most managers or leaders miss –  the data behind why some teams and companies buzz with energy and others don’t.

10. Matching Talents to Roles

Social platforms such as LinkedIn provide insights into people’s skills, passions and interests that provide a more complete picture of a candidate than a one dimensional resume will ever achieve.

MGI’s report, The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, explores their potential economic impact by examining their current usage and evolving application in four commercial sectors: consumer packaged goods, retail financial services, advanced manufacturing, and professional services. These technologies, which create value by improving productivity across the value chain, could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value across the four sectors.

Two-thirds of this potential value lies in improving collaboration and communication within and across enterprises. The average interaction worker spends an estimated 28 percent of the workweek managing e-mail and nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.

The average interaction worker spends an estimated 28 percent of the workweek managing e-mail and nearly 20 percent looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks. But when companies use social media internally, messages become content; a searchable record of knowledge can reduce, by as much as 35 percent, the time employees spend searching for company information. Additional value can be realized through faster, more efficient, more effective collaboration, both within and between enterprises.

The amount of value individual companies can capture from social technologies varies widely by industry, as do the sources of value. Companies that have a high proportion of interaction workers can realize tremendous productivity improvements through faster internal communication and smoother collaboration. Companies that depend very heavily on influencing consumers can derive considerable value by interacting with them in social media and by monitoring the conversations to gain a richer perspective on product requirements or brand image—for much less than what traditional research methods would cost.

Marc Coleman is director of the Pan European HR Network. You can connect with Marc on twitter @HRNEurope or via LinkedIn. Our recent productions include: HR Tech Europe, Next Generation Talent, iHR Awards and Social Enterprise. To build good-smart connections please visit the Pan European HR Network’s Groups on Linkedin (EMEA HR Directors, Pan European HR Network, Strategic Talent Management and HR Tech Europe & Social Enterprise). Do you have Facebook app on your smartphone? Simply like our Facebook page for updates about our community!