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Social media serves as a dynamic, and differentiating, method for business communication. From accessible and scalable publishing leveraging web-based technologies to enabling interactivity rather than one-directional communication between employees, customers, partners, and investors (through blogs, social networking platforms, podcasts, third party internet-based forums, wikis, and sites that host photos, videos or other user-generated content), social business is both mainstream and integral to individual and business success.
There are potential risks in not engaging in social media given its widespread use. Organizations that do not engage in social media efforts risk losing contact and engagement with their employees, customers, partners, investors, and other important constituencies, and possible loss of ideas and discussion that may come from such efforts and initiatives.
Social business represents an opportunity to craft and communicate the corporate narrative in an earned and trusted way. To successfully achieve this, organizations must engage social media in a manner that is responsible, respectful, disciplined, and consistent with the organization’s mission, goals and strategies.
It is important to acknowledge the potential risks that the use of social media presents, and ensure these risks are identified and addressed, including:
- Loss or damage to the organization’s brand, image and reputation
- Misuse by users or inappropriate behavior
- Lack of control over content
- Increased exposure to viruses or other “malware”
- Legal implications related to copyright, trademark, privacy rights, defamation and antitrust
Guidelines for use of social media should be established to minimize these risks while maximizing opportunities to support the organization’s mission.
Additionally, a continuing professional education (CPE) program should be put in place to maintain currency with the changes and evolution of social media and social business communications, and provide employees with the needed skills to effectively engage and interact with corporate audiences, both internally and externally.
Social Business | Take-Aways
- Set the example for the organization to follow. In leading in social business, you as the organizational leader will set the tone and provide the direction to be followed and emulated.
- Social executives are perceived as innovative and have a positive impact on their companies information sharing and reputation. Social executives put a face on and create a voice for an organization. If you have trepidation about social business, start with internal communications, but quickly find their external voice.
- Maintain transparency and authenticity. Openly share successes and challenges along the social business transformation journey to spur adoption across the enterprise, and consider communicating the stories socially. Make social business transformation part of practice and instill value in the program by recognizing achievement by employees.
- Get started with social business – formalize your continuing professional education (CPE) program. Formalize a social business and personal brand building program at your organization. Start with a pilot group – the executive team, sales, marketing, etc. – and quickly standardize, roll out, and evolve the training to maintain consistency of standards across the enterprise.
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