Last week we spoke at the Pivot Conference and rode a healthy wave of buzz for The Social Employee!  And before Pivot, in addition to an exhilarating discussion of the book’s themes as part of IBM’s #P4SPChat series, Jure Klepic (@jkcallas) posted a glowing review of The Social Employee over at Huffington Post titled “To Engage or Not Engage Employees in Social Media – That is the Question.”

Klepic’s post focuses on one of the key issues we address in the book. Chiefly, in an age where nearly three quarters of adults use social media, eventually some of those users are bound to mention their jobs through online channels—and sometimes not in the most positive light. In the past, companies have been caught unaware in these moments, often overreacting out of fear or a lack of knowledge over how else they might be able to handle the situation.

No matter what that employee might be saying, when they use social channels to speak about their companies in a positive light, it is critical that those companies have a clear, comprehensive social media policy in place. Workers need to know what they are allowed to say about the brands they represent. And once these social employees are properly armed with that knowledge, these voices resounding through their myriad social channels will begin to ring out as one.

Social media may have settled comfortably into the public consciousness by now, but adoption rates and user comfort with these tools still varies. Forward-thinking companies can keep their own brand images in good standing by helping those who have been slower to adopt by training them in basic engagement, etiquette, and community-building strategies. By doing so, not only will these social employees have a better understanding of their role in the digital village, they will have a better understanding of how to build brand eminence in social communities as well.

Brands ready to train their social employees in these practices also have a chance to invite their participation. Part of going social is providing workers a forum to voice their concerns, ask questions, and ultimately contribute ideas to their brand’s own engagement strategies. By empowering workers to feel like they have a voice in their brand’s future, they will reward the business through increased engagement, leading to better communication and innovation in the workplace.

What is your brand doing to build your social employee culture? Share your stories in the comments below!

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