More organizations are coming to realize the benefits of social media. According to a study by Proskauer, a global law firm, 40% of companies see allowing employees to use social tools as an advantage in both business and non-business scenarios. The same study also found that three quarters of respondents already use such tools for business.

Social media is not only a tool with unlimited potential, it’s a tool that can bolster multiple areas within an organization. Here are some of the departments in your company that can benefit from this highly effective business channel.

1. Human Resources

Many employers are using social networks such as LinkedIn to drive recruitment efforts. But in addition to recruiting new employees, social media can help human resources by:

–Enhancing brand awareness and image during recruiting

–Retaining existing workers by improving relationships between employers and employees

–Improving training and learning in a collaborative environment

–Rewarding hard work through public acknowledgment

–Improving HR operations by monitoring employee feedback

The HR department represents unchartered territory even for many companies that have already been using social media to sure up other areas of the organization. You can expect more creative uses for human resources to come about as more employers decide to incorporate this channel into their business strategies.

2. Marketing

Social media has had a huge impact on marketing over the years. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ allow businesses to communicate with partners, clients and potential customers in a unique manner that bolsters marketing efforts in a variety of ways. While the potential to boost revenue is huge, many companies are sharpening their focus to the engagement aspect. By increasing engagement, social media can help strengthen relationships, trust and brand advocacy, which opens the door to a plethora of other marketing benefits.

3. Sales

Effective marketing often leads to sales, but a growing number of sales associates are getting directly involved with social media. While some studies argue that social media doesn’t have as big an influence on sales as one might think, there is also some research that suggests otherwise. According to social sales expert Jim Keenan, his firm conducted a study showing that 78% of sales reps using social media outperform their peers in terms of sales. Those type of numbers are difficult to ignore. By establishing and monitoring feedback loops in the right channels, your sales team could produce similar results.

4. Customer Service

Several companies are leveraging social media to extend their customer service department. Instead of limiting them to traditional channels such as phone and email, they are allowing their customers to ask questions, leave feedback and communicate otherwise through networks such as Facebook and Twitter. In the right scenario, it can be very effective at catering to customer needs and improving levels of satisfaction.

If there was ever a department that needs to tread carefully with social media it would be customer service. Inviting customers to speak their mind on a public platform means they could also do so when they have something negative to say. Customer service reps need to be as quick in addressing negative feedback as they are to give thanks for saying something nice. Reputation management is about tackling issues head on, not running from them.

5. Finance

Believe it or not, but social media also has a lot to offer to a firm’s financial department. In this regard, its communication and collaborative qualities truly shine through. LinkedIn is a great example. By taking advantage of groups, financial managers and accountants on LinkedIn can stay connected and up to date with all the developments that matter to the company. On a similar note, social networks like Facebook and Twitter especially, are ideal for keeping up with trends and the latest buzz in the industry.

Social media is a powerful tool, one flexible enough to accommodate individual areas of business or many different aspects. It can be used as a marketing mechanism, or a support channel that serves the purpose of strengthening customer relationships. You can stick to a single network, or leverage multiple sites to cater to a wide range of needs. It doesn’t matter your size or what you do, with the right strategy, social media can help any organization improve its business performance.

Is your company working to create a strong social presence or still sitting on the sidelines? The longer you wait, the harder it will be to play catchup.

Francis Santos is a writer for Benchmark Email Marketing, a best practices email marketing company. Follow him on Twitter.

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