It’s all about Values

Social Media Social media engagement is about having conversations. Conversations with customers and prospective customers wherever they happen to congregate on the web.

Shireen asked today how can you protect your brand if you allow staff to use Twitter, write blogs or use other social media?

Old style media and PR were about command and control. Create a brand and an image, employ a raft of people to craft words that fit the image, and then distribute them through mass media channels.

In the social media world of today your customers are having conversations about you in public. You can no longer control the message. But you can influence it. No policy will be able to cover all the aspects of a conversation though. Instead you need values. Values enable employees to make smart decisions by themselves about how to engage.

Don’t Zappos values say everything staff need to know about how to engage with people on social media? Microsoft’s blog policy is famously two words: Blog Smart. It’s about empowering staff to make smart decisions based on company values.

Instead of creating a bunch of command and control rules that nobody reads, think about the values that embody your company and how you can use them to enable staff to make decisions by themselves, engage customers, and win new business.

What do you think? Any other ideas to add?

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    • jonbusby

      Interesting concise post Mark.

      Problem is that many think about what will go wrong rather than what will go right. 'Wrong' is usually a consequence of the fear and ignorance 'combo.'

      We implemented the 'blog smart' process. Works well. I mean why would I 'dis' my company? Don't really want wife and kids on the street.

      My only add is that conversation is good, but as with all conversations, virtual or physical, they have to be engaging, interesting and relevant.

      Jon

    • http://twitter.com/jonathanlea Jonathan Lea

      Agree with you! 'Values' also sounds more positive and enabling, as opposed to the more restrictive sounding 'rules'.

      However, it does require a bit of change of mindset, especially for law firms. Despite being a relatively small regional firm, our employment department have keenly produced a weighty staff handbook that is probably over 100 pages long. Needless to say, I don't think I've ever looked at it, although I can understand why the firm would want some of it to fall back on.

    • http://www.markbower.com Mark Bower

      Jon – Thanks. Agree – doesn't mean we can't continue to persuade!
      Jonathan – positive and enabling – exactly the kind of work culture any smart person would want to work in right? What could be better for recruitment and retention?