Socially empowering your employees-What’s taking so long?



We talk and write about the ways to grow a business using social ALOT. Companies are obsessing over it. Even the really really big companies want to harness the promise of the prospect, the power of the existing customer and the potential of repeat business-All using social media.

Yesterday, I was talking to a manager of one of those really really big companies. We talked about empowering their employees to engage in outbound social media marketing- That’s a fancy sentence for basically letting your employees tweet and share things about the company on company time. The comment back was, “They are hourly employees, “We can’t do that-We can’t trust what they might say”…

That sentiment is not on an island.

Two days ago I was talking to a salaried employee of another large company who told me that they could not access Facebook from their work computers. Two thoughts came to mind. One-employees can use their mobile devices at any time to circumvent those rules and two, there is a lack of trust coupled with a fear factor of what that employee might do that is preventing this company from taming the social beast.

I mention the 2 scenarios because in both situations we’re talking about employees both salaried and hourly, in which trust is a huge issue.

How do you leverage the power of what your employees can do for you in social media in order to grow your company? Your customers would welcome the socially empowered employee representing your company. We are entering a time in which it is expected and in some cases demanded.

What is the exception and what is the rule? The rogue employee using social media or the empowered one representing all that is good about your company?

What Was Your Enchanted Moment?

I’d like to think that we’ve all had “enchanted” moments in this space. I have had at least two, maybe three. The space I’m referring to specifically is the digital/social media, online marketing space.  Moment #1 possibly occurred when I built my first website. That was pretty cool. It looked pretty bad but there was something to be said about doing it without the aid of templates and the myriad of tools and programs available today. I got better, but the light really went on from that first experience.

Back in 2005 I sent former Apple Evangelist, Guy Kawasaki, an email; and to be honest, I didn’t really expect a response. The email was a general, ” Oh Sensei, What is the path” type of inquiry. At that time I had recently read his book The Art of the Start and also had stumbled onto Guy’s website/blog, How to Change the World.  After reading the book and the blog I was beyond energized and knew what I needed to do and was merely hoping that Guy was as genuine as I thought-and  by responding to my email, he would only validate the notion even more. Though at the end of the day, I didn’t expect a response.

Well…He did respond. The key there? He responded. The content of the email? I can’t really remember. What struck me was that he responded. It opened my eyes to the power of connections, the power of having a direct type of access to someone who you might have thought was inaccessible. It was the power of social to me on a very small but large scale all wrapped into one. That was truly Enchanted Moment #1.

Moment Number Two: I initially got into social media because of my SEO background. I found out rather quickly how one could “game” blogs for SEO and reputation management with hyper linked signatures embedded with key words. It was apparent pretty quickly that this worked so at the time I wouldn’t pay much attention to the content of a blog as much as I did to the page rank of it. Then one day I read a post that struck a nerve.  I commented and they commented back. Whoa. What is this dialogue? This is better than hoping or waiting on an email response from Guy Kawasakai! It was real time, it was genuine, and it added these immediate reciprocal layers of texture to a static web and a static job function that really opened my eyes to the social possibilities of the web. The moment was huge for me. It changed the way I did things and the way I thought about things.

In 2011, it would appear that my three experiences have come full circle. Last night I finished an advance copy of Guy Kawasaki’s latest book Enchantment. I was asked to read and review it and I have to say, I probably would have read it without him asking me. Here’s the point or here’s how much things have changed for me since that day back in 2005 when I sent Guy that email. Not to revel in the reasons why I was selected to read and review the book because it really can be completely subjective, the fact is that my influence and opinion and networks mattered. That’s pretty cool. That’s the power of social, the power of connections and the power of the web. It has shaped my life and my career over the last 6 years all in a positive way. So in a way, Guy has been part of my enchanted moments  from the beginning and now in the middle.

Now the book Enchantment:  It took 2 flights to finish it. A quick read. I didn’t have to struggle to find the meaning of the things I was reading. It was as easy a book to read and understand as you will find. The tag line, “The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions”, could not be more appropriate.  After every chapter is a quick snapshot of someone’s moment of enchantment in their life or career which adds an additional aspect of “human-ness” to the book. It’s real. It’s Tangible. Guy’s style is so non invasive and I think that’s the takeaway. I’m glad I read it, will probably read it again and I will ultimately give it to someone who can benefit from it.

Enchanted moment #3? Having Guy host our weekly #Social Media Tweetchat-That would be full circle. Stay tuned! The key? I just have to ask. Truly the power of social.

Have you had your enchanted moment yet?

Corning Creates an Impactful and Viral Video

Watch this video from Corning. When I first saw it, I was amazed at what was possible with glass and then what caught my eye was the number of views-5.8 million views in less than one month. This is isn’t a funny video. It’s not scandalous or malicious or of someone getting hurt. It’s simply about the many uses of glass. Something to ponder the next time your company wants to create a video. Was it Corning’s intention that it garner close to 6 million views, 14,000 likes and almost 3,000 comments? I don’t think so…