TEDx TEDxNavasink Logo 400_400 Mark Burgess.fwChat: IBM “The Shortlist” Twitter Chat
Topic: The Social Employee
Day/Time: Thursday, Feb. 12, 1 p.m. ET
Moderator: IBM (@IBMSocialBiz)
Panelists: Cheryl Burgess (@CKBurgess), Mark Burgess (@MNBurgess), Kevin Randall (@KevinBrandall)
Hashtag: #socbizchat

If your organization had a voice, what would it sound like? Who would be speaking? Would it be the higher-ups in the C Suite, your employees and coworkers, or all those voices resounding as one?

Last year, I had the privilege of delivering a talk called “The Rise of the Social Employee” at TEDx Navesink (@tedxnavesink). In the speech, I followed ideas first presented in our book The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, 2013), co-written by myself and Cheryl Burgess (@CKBurgess). To give my talk a better contextual basis, I also used my own personal experiences in marketing—from my Madison Avenue days to today.

The argument in the talk goes something like this: The voice of an organization has changed. Where once all communications came from a combination of the top brass and the marketing department, social tools have made individual employees more visible than ever—and more likely to be heard. While they’re not the only ones doing the talking, there’s no question that their voice now makes up a key piece of any brand’s identity.

The quest for authenticity

In the social media age, the cry for authenticity is constant. A lot of us feel like we’ve seen it all when it comes to branding and push marketing, and consumers especially are tired of it. The solution? Provide meaningful engagement. Don’t try to project perfection; just be yourself. Social selling in particular means providing content of value, of promoting your brand offerings based on their merits, about avoiding the a hard sell and engaging person-to-person.

The social employee is this voice of authenticity. It’s important, then, that organizations work to support and empower these individuals so that they may engage stakeholders confidently and effectively.

What does such a process look like? Start with a social employee pilot program, a process that I initially outlined in a post for the American Marketing Association. In developing these guidelines, we at Blue Focus Marketing (@BlueFocus) owe a great deal of gratitude to organizations like IBM, who opened their doors to us to show us how it was done while we were writing The Social Employee (@SocialEmployee).

Building your pilot program

Let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of the social employee pilot program, which we’ve broken down into the following steps:

Listen. Determine organizational assets, prioritize needs and identify employee evangelists. You’ll be surprised at the body of knowledge already within your organization.

Develop. Do you have social engagement guidelines? Only about half do. Consult with stakeholders and evangelists to develop a comprehensive (but flexible) policy, share it with your employees, and enlist their input.

Train. How does organizational policy meet day-to-day practice? Provide employees with the proper training, and model best practices whenever possible. Enlist more experienced employees in training others.

Deploy. Social engagement begins with internal communications. A variety of always-improving enterprise tools are available to any organization. Choose the ones that best fit your needs.

Measure. It’s not a matter of being able to measure engagement and other social processes. Rather, the most important thing is knowing what to measure. The clearer your goals, the easier it is to determine whether you’ve met them.

As with any successful pilot program, apply what you’ve learned to improve the program as it expands. Remember, the goal is to give your employees a voice—so don’t forget to seek their input every step of the way.

To the future—and beyond

Are you and your organization ready to join the Social Employee Revolution? Join me (@mburgess), Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess) and Kevin Randall (@KevinBrandall)—Vice President, Strategy & Planning at Movéo and afterword writer extraordinaire for The Social Employee—for an IBM Twitter Chat on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 1 p.m., ET. Here are all the details:

Chat: IBM “The Shortlist” Twitter Chat
Topic: The Social Employee
Day/Time: Thursday, Feb. 12, 1 p.m. ET
Moderator: IBM (@IBMSocialBiz)
Panelists: Cheryl Burgess (@CKBurgess), Mark Burgess (@MNBurgess), Kevin Randall (@KevinBrandall)
Hashtag: #socbizchat

We look forward to what is sure to be a lively discussion. In the meantime, for more insights on building social employees within your organization, watch my TEDx talk below:

 Post was previously published on IBM Social Business Insights Blog.


IBM Book Club Banner FINAL 2015

Below are recent endorsements for The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) by Tom Peters and David Aaker on their social networks, but if you want to see more of their endorsements click here.

Tom Peters CROP_W Favorite Biz Book Nov


Tom Peters (Twitter) attribution PPT

Tom Peters signature copy
In The Social Employee, we go behind the scenes with several leading brands—such as IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo—pulling the lid off the inspiring social business success stories that have propelled these companies into the 21st century. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

See what others are saying about The Social Employee and order your copy today!


Please check out @SocialEmployee media buzz! Click Here

Join @SocialEmployee Google+

“Great brands have always started on the inside, but why are companies taking so long to leverage the great opportunities offered by internal social media? . . . The Social Employee lifts the lid on this potential and provides guidance for businesses everywhere.” JEZ FRAMPTON, Global Chairman and CEO, Interbrand


Amazon_agold-bookThe Social Employee offers an unparalleled behind-the-scenes look at the social business success stories of some of the biggest brand names in the business world, including IBM, AT&T, Dell, Adobe, Southwest Airlines, Cisco, Acxiom, and Domo. These cutting-edge brands have all come to the same realization: the path to social business lies through empowering the social employee.

The brands that leverage their employee base in order to engage customers and prospects through social media are the ones destined to win the marketing wars. This book not only details the astronomical rise of the social employee, but also outlines the innovative methods that leading companies have employed to foster cultures of enthusiastic and engaged workers.

FORMcGrawHill_RedEWORD by David C. Edelman, Global Co-Leader, Digital Marketing & Sales Practice, McKinsey & Company

AFTERWORD by Kevin Randall, Vice President of Brand Strategy & Research at Movéo Integrated Branding, and journalist for The New York Times, The Economist and Vanity Fair.

Download ~> Free Chapter 3 – “Brands Under Pressure”




Good things come to those who sign up for our newsletter.
Join our email list to get the latest insights straight to your inbox.
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.