Surviving the Future: How to Build a 21st Century Organization

We currently live in a hyper connected world characterized by 24/7 access to global communications, with social networks providing ability to self publish and be heard.  We carry more compute power on smart phones than early computers and possess access to information previous generations could not imagine.  Yet, for many organizations, culture and business processes have not kept up.  While business causal has replaced suits and digital has replaced paper, it is not clear that today’s organizations know how to accommodate the more open, collaborative processes that the Internet has fostered and new cohorts of employees expect.

Many companies came of age with hierarchical structures and command and control leadership.   Boundaries were clear and roles rigid.  Yet, despite vast technological change and shifts in how work gets done, many organizational designs  put in place in the last century are still with us.

What should you do?  The following are some steps HR, Marketing and business leaders should take to change culture and processes and, ultimately, enable their businesses to remain competitive.  Social media and social business are transforming the world of work and the only organizations that will thrive are those that have figured out how to use new technologies to their advantage.

  1.  Devise a plan to intelligently implement virtual work and virtual teams.  Despite the recent controversy, they are not going away!  Co-location is necessary for certain jobs, but many knowledge based workers can work virtually with existing technology.    Virtual workers also have a smaller carbon footprint, organizations save money on infrastructure costs and older workers or those with work/life demands can be accommodated.
  2.  Redesign jobs to be modular and allow workers to utilize skills on projects anywhere in the organization.  This  makes good use of human capital, solves skill shortages and can lead to greater productivity and satisfaction among employees.
  3. Redefine the role of leaders.  Encourage leaders to find ways of engaging and not just be seen as ensconced in their offices behind traditional gatekeepers.
  4. Empower employee collaboration.  Provide employees a seat at the table, get their feedback and listen to their suggestions.  They can provide valuable insights and intelligence about trends, competitors and emerging needs.
  5. Train all employees on new technologies.   Many older adults have embraced social networks.  Don’t assume only the  millennials will get it.
  6. Provide guidelines on social media.  Make sure the rules are clear and consequences for bad behavior spelled out.  Your firm’s reputation and brand may depend on this.
  7. Include clients in networks and make innovations more  collaborative.   Social networks are about relationships and collaboration.   Clients’ voices should be heard. They can help articulate their needs and shape new offerings.

We live in a global, fast paced, information rich and boundary spanning era.  We need to create organizations that reflect this.  Otherwise, our businesses will go the way of the fax machine and rotary phone.  They still exist, but no longer serve the purpose they once did.

What do you think?  Contact us at AndreaG@dccInsights.com or  call us at 914 234 3917 if you need a road map to the future, training or even implementation assistance.  We can help!  We can also be reached on Twitter @digitalcultured.

Does Market Research Still Matter?

In our fast paced digital business climate, immediacy is critical and carefully constructed market research focused on customer wants and needs and large brand tracking studies have been replaced with newer, cheaper and sexier techniques.  While there is a great deal to gain by using digital data and web listening or by engaging in on-line community based conversations, marketers may be throwing out the baby with the bath water.  I am concerned that in the effort to be timely and current, insufficient focus may be given to using the appropriate methodology or to taking the time necessary to gather the right intelligence to make informed decisions.

In the digital era, it has become easier to develop and promote new products/services and to establish a brand or create a buzz.  Barriers to entry for many businesses are low and the increased sophistication of marketing has enabled better targeting.  Yet, clearly there are many cases of businesses failing.  And, while the costs of entry might be relatively low, the cost of failure may still be very high.   Businesses may not be taking sufficient time to understand what clients really need or feel and how this changes over time.  They also may not be putting in the appropriate metrics to measure success.  Thus, when things go wrong they may not have the insights they need to understand what happened or to develop a strategy to ensure future success.  Too many simply move on and pursue the next shinny new object without learning a thing.

In the quest to reduce marketing expenditures, some businesses have forgotten that not everything can be obtained cheaply and that there is often a difference between stated and unstated needs and values.  Could they be missing something critical?  Web analytics provide valuable data, but they do not always provide insights about what drives behavior.   The digital world is full of data and on-line behavior tracking.  But, what creates and sustains brand loyalty and why clients act like they do are often more difficult to discern.

I am not suggesting that research return to the days when insights were only from one-way mirrors or phone based surveys.  I do, however, recommend that a more balanced approach be taken and the right tools employed to gain knowledge.  The optimal combination would be multiple types of data that could enable one to understand the full complexity of market forces and customer requirements.  Most businesses would love to be able to predict customer behavior so that they might act to prevent defection.  Having the means to do this often requires intelligence that cannot simply be gained quickly and through only one channel.

The on-line world certainly allows a level of customer intimacy that did not exist before and it has provided a vast array of data.  But, one should not lose sight of the limitations of the information that is often readily available.    There are costs to failing.  Longitudinal surveys and focus groups, may actually turn out be good investments!

Do You Know Your Brand’s Digital Identity?

Branding is not a new thing.  Governments have long realized the importance of symbols and one can go as far back as the Roman Empire to see the imperial eagle representing the power and glory of Rome.  But while symbols are still important components of brands, things have changed quite a bit in the past few millennia.  While we still use distinct symbols or logos and brands still stand for specific attributes and values, the digital age has definitely changed the game.

In the new collaborative and virtual world we operate in, brand identities are not simply asserted by organizations and individuals; they are co-created and can be quickly developed or destroyed by the masses. In the digital world, brands have expanded into digital identities.  Organizations and individuals have on-line personas.   Unfortunately, many organizations and individuals have limited understanding of how they are perceived nor what is communicated about them.

In the past, political entities and businesses had much greater deal of control over their brands.  They created and nurtured a specific identity, and strived to behave and communicate in ways that were consistent with that identity.  They used paid advertising and public relations and carefully measured the result.    While organizations still use advertising and PR, in the on-line world they can no longer control everything being said or known about them.  Both fans and detractors can publish what they choose and video and other content can easily go viral.

Not being able to totally control brands does not mean abdication.   There are many tools, both free and paid, that enable one to understand what is being said on-line.  From Google Alerts to Radian 6, the level and sophistication of information that can be gleamed can be surprising.  While one cannot prevent negative statements, organizations should monitor the web and be prepared to correct false statements or communicate their own points of view.  Training employees and having them act as brand ambassadors is also a strategy that has been successfully employed by many companies.

Social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs reach millions and allow one to communicate and position one’s organization, but they are not the only components of digital identities.   There is a massive amount of data on-line and we all leave trails.  Marketers have been quick to understand the value of this data.  Targeting has become very sophisticated and it is no longer just what is being said on-line, it is also about behavior and networking connections.   Businesses have developed legitimate ways to gain access to data about what individuals or companies purchase, who they know and what they view.   For good or for bad, the openness of the digital world has enabled a great deal of information to be easily obtained.

To be successful, marketers and business leaders need to understand what is available and get the insights they need.  This includes gaining a better understanding of their clients and prospects and assessing how they and their businesses are viewed on-line.   Unfortunately, if organizations do not proactively take control of or help define their digital identities, others may step in and do it for them.   And, if competitive organizations have a clearer view of customers’ needs and actions, they will be in a better position to meet these needs.  Knowledge has always come with power and this is no more evident than in the fast paced digital world we now live in.

The Role of Corporate Values in a Web 2.0 World

 

There is a shift going on in how we use social media and the Web.  In the era of Web 1.0, the goal was to get people’s attention.  To this end, marketers tried many gimmicks to get noticed and we were presented with swirling logos and sexy content.  Content was considered to be king and the rush was on to be entertaining, funny and irreverent.  Big brands saw this as a way they could be perceived as more modern and hip and hoped it would enable them to attract a younger demographic.

 

In the era of Web 2.0 there has been a shift.  While content is still important, collectively there is an over abundance of content.  What has become important are relationships and authenticity.  We as consumers want to be engaged in two-way conversations.  We as employees want to be trusted and have our voices heard.  And, we as members of society want our organizations to be socially responsible and accountable.

 

In a marketplace characterized by increased transparency at one level and scandal after scandal at the other, there is a growing focus on corporate values and corporate social responsibility.  While being financially successful is still considered a virtue, being successful at all costs is not.   We tend to respect those who are successful without losing their core values or exploiting others.  Suddenly after years of turning a blind eye, there is a growing movement to improve working conditions in the China.   One of the most potent lessons of the Occupy Movement is that in the era of social media there are very few places to hide and communities can easily organize and make their voices heard.  If corporations are to be considered people, we need them to behave with a moral compass that weighs corporate profits against societal losses.  

 

While many corporate brand managers have put together compelling marketing communications campaigns extolling their company’s environmental sensitivity, often their organizations maintain too narrow a focus and fail to reflect on the many ways in which their company’s actions affect the world.  While a company’s specific actions speak of their commitment to sustainability and other causes, to truly provide make a difference, concern with one’s impact on society must emanate from employees as well as management.  It needs to be part of the organizational culture and fabric of how things get done.  The recent Libor scandal certainly brought this point home.

 

As we continue to reach out across boundaries and live in an increasing global world, organizations need to ensure that their focus remains broad and that they take full responsibility for what they do.  They must have clear cut values and empower their people to act in a way consistent with those values.  In a recent IBM study, three ways were described for CEOs to empower employees.  The first one of these was “replace rule books with shared belief.  Recalibrate controls and build values employees will live out.”   As IBM and other socially responsible organizations have learned, when shared beliefs reflect things that all of society values, we all benefit.  Relationships are about trust, caring and doing the right thing.  In the era of Web 2.0 that is what we expect and that is what we need!

 

 

 

5 Ways Social Media Can Replicate the Advantages of Main Street

Those that live in small towns know the advantages of frequenting merchants who know their names and what they regularly purchase.  These merchants, mostly small business owners, develop relationships and anticipate needs.  Thus, customers often continue to frequent these establishments, even when strong competitors emerge.  Starbucks adopted this approach in their retail outlets.  They recognized that customers would buy high-priced coffees from baristas who knew their names, how they liked their lattes and who would have the right drink waiting for them upon their arrival.

Such is the power of value added services, relationship marketing and branding.  Most of us are willing to pay a premium for it.  Services tailored to our needs break through the clutter, relationships engender loyalty and strong brands provide us with assurances around quality and intangibles like status. 

Social media and ability of enterprises of all sizes to have an on-line presence, has led to new ways for organizations to create customer intimacy, develop brands and foster loyalty.  While one cannot replace face-to-face relationships, social media can create strong connections among people and vast amounts of on-line data can provide information that traditional merchants could only dream of.  Here are 5 steps to replicate the advantages of the Main Street experience.

  1. Know Thy Customer – On-line loyalty programs can provide information about existing customers; including their preferences, their backgrounds and how they like to buy.  Social media enables two-way communications and relationship building.  Create a loyalty program, understand who your customers are and create a dialog with them.
  2. Use Analytics – Analytic tools provide insights into who buys what from whom, and in which combinations.  Predictive tools enable targeting of customers likely to need specific products or services in the future.  Analytics can provide great competitive advantage.
  3. Listen to Your Customers and the Market – What are people saying about your brand, your products and your competitors?  What will they need in the future?  Join on-line groups and use the free tools that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms provide to gain insights.
  4. Gather Customer Satisfaction Information – Were customers satisfied with your products and services and how they were delivered?  Would they recommend your business to a friend?  If you do not know these things, find out.  And, be sure to check out what is being said about your business on Yelp or Angie’s list.
  5. Take Actions and Gather Feedback - Respond to what you learn by taking action.   Don’t ignore customer concerns and don’t be afraid to experiment, take calculated risks and ask for feedback.  You will quickly discover what works and what doesn’t.

What is your view?  You can also contact me on-line on Twitter @digitalcultured, Facebook at Digital Culture Consulting and email at AndreaGoldberg@digitalcultureconsulting.com.

Social Business…Why You Should Care

In the past most organizations had clear-cut boundaries and roles were well-defined.  While they had to be responsive to customers, major decisions were left to management and communications with employees and customers were typically one-way.  With the emergence of social media and non-traditional ecosystems,  interactions tend to be two-way and change can be driven by any number of stakeholders, including employees, partners and suppliers.

 In order to thrive in this environment businesses are deploying and using new social tools and taking advantage of the many new business opportunities. Organizations are evolving to be social businesses, which are defined as those that have the strategies and technologies that allow all parts of their ecosystems to be engaged, create value, form relationships and make decisions.   Social business is the latest step in the evolution of business that began with the advent of the Internet and electronic communications.  In these organizations work is accomplished differently and products and services are created and purchased in new ways.   Since social businesses can adapt to their environments, they are well suited to meet the changing needs of their internal and external constituencies. 

 IBM, one of the company’s leading in social business, has identified three distinct characteristics of a social business:

            Engaged—deeply connecting people, including customers, employees, and partners, to be involved in productive, efficient ways.

            Transparent—removing boundaries to information, experts and assets, helping people align every action to drive business results.

            Nimble—speeding up business with information and insight to anticipate and address  evolving opportunities.

 There are many  advantages to becoming a social business.  Internally these organizations often have better business performance, are more efficient, have better insights and  knowledge, are more aware of new opportunities, have better collaboration , more efficient processes and avoid duplication of efforts.  Externally, they can have lower customer care costs, better customer satisfaction and loyalty, lower marketing and sales costs, better brand reputations and lower product development costs.

 It is difficult for any organization to go from being an isolated entity to being social business, although few organizations are really totally isolated any more.  Organizations need to develop the strategies and tools that will enable them to move along this continuum.    They need to go from having an inside out point of view to an outside in point of view and they have must have technologies that enable collaboration and the sharing of insights and knowledge.

 While increasing employee and customer engagement is usually welcome, not every social business initiative will succeed and it is important that an organization experiments with new approaches, learns from mistakes and moves on when something doesn’t work.  Having leaders who are not afraid to take risks is one important step.  Having employees who know how to be digital citizens is another.  Employees must have the training necessary to understand how to behave and to manage their own reputations and that of their employers.

 Although social businesses may be relatively new entities, the number of social business is growing.  A 2011 social business survey by International Data Corporation (IDC) showed that 41% of respondents have some sort of social business initiative underway. What they found, however, is that these projects vary greatly.  They ranged from grassroots bottom-up employee initiatives to sophisticated and strategic social customer engagement programs.

 So while there is no “one size fits all” way to be a social business, the message is clear; if you run a business, you should think about where you are on the continuum from isolation to integration to stakeholder optimization and develop a plan to transform your organization into a social one.   Otherwise your business risks being endangered.

Why Your Business Needs to Be Focused On Social Media: Unlocking Potential and Avoiding Pitfalls

Background

We are in the midst of a social media revolution.  Like the Arab Spring uprisings, where revolutionary leaders used social media to create widespread awareness, support, rapidly communicate with and mobilize supporters, social media is now enabling organizations to do business as never before.  It is increasing collaboration and breaking down barriers between internal organizations and the external world.  It is also fundamentally changing how work is performed and how organizations operate.

Today’s organizations are faced with a business environment that is increasingly global, competitive and fast paced and where disruptive innovation may render existing business models obsolete.  If they do not act quickly and adapt to these changes, they may not survive.  Such was the case of Borders who failed to adjust to the onset of e-books, unlike their main competitor, Barnes and Noble, who came out with the Nook.  Barnes and Noble is still operating while Borders recently shuttered all their stores.  The choice is not whether to adapt to change and implement social media in organizations; rather it is how to best implement it in order to survive in the rapidly evolving business environment.

The influx of digital natives, the increased presence of virtual employees and the prevalence of virtual global teams has made organizations adapt to new labor market realities.    At the same time, social media use is climbing. With around 800 million people around the world using Facebook, more than 25% of all Americans spending time on social media sites, and the majority of the Fortune 500 implementing social media programs, it is clear that the “social media phenomenon” is not just a fad.

Social Media and Organization 2.0

Organizations are learning how to adapt their cultures to employees who can and want to work differently as well as customers who want to buy and be serviced in more inclusive ways.  These changes have impacted all aspects of organizations including recruiting and selection, rewards and incentives, job roles, leadership, and training and development.  It has also become clear that different skills sets will be required to meet the evolving organizational paradigms.  And as employees have more external touch points, employers recognize that new guidelines, polices and training programs must be put in place.

While social medial media has enabled many positive outcomes, such as new approaches for marketing, branding and communications, opportunities for thought leadership, recruitment of hard-to-find skilled candidates, increased employee engagement and better customer  service, it is clear that it has changed expectations of participation and created a loss of employer control.  It requires more transparency and  a reframing of employee personal versus public communications.

The Upside and the Downside

Brands take on new meaning in the age of social media. Employees can be a visible and positive force in this environment and serve as brand ambassadors.  Companies like IBM have been very successful in utilizing their workers to aid their brand.  They demonstrate brand values and deliver upon brand promises and expectations.  But, judgment must be used on social media and there are many cases of employees hurting brands by writing inappropriate things and embarrassing their employers.   Recently, a Philadelphia high school teacher was suspended with pay after she wrote a blog in which in which she spoke harshly about her students saying, “They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners.  Similarly, an Albuquerque police officer was placed on desk duty after listing his occupation on his Facebook profile as “Human waste disposal.”  Other examples include a police woman posting inappropriate Facebook pictures alongside police insignia, waitresses writing negative things about their customers, and employees defaming supervisors.  And, even a member of Congress, Anthony Weiner, had to resign after tweeting lewd pictures of himself to a young woman.

Without proper training or guidance, employees can unintentionally or maliciously damage organizational reputations, resulting in the loss of customers, revenue and intellectual property.  This behavior can have a negative impact on employee morale, create management difficulties and the inability to recruit top candidates, as well as cause legal issues.  That is why smart organizations are being proactive and trying to understand the readiness of their organizations with respect to social media.  They realize it is critical to have metrics that allow one to understand existing usage among employees, guidelines awareness, etc.  This way they can assess how effective any planned social media implementation will be or measure how successful existing ones are.

The Solution

The solution we developed is PSMOTM – a Program for Social Media Optimization – that is designed to measure the organization’s current status as an entity in the social media context, identify and solve for any competitive weaknesses and optimize its functioning to produce employees who act as brand ambassadors in the social media cultural milieu.Image

The PSMOTM process assesses the eight (8) specific factors that comprise organizational optimization regarding employees’ social media behaviors and brand advocacy.  The assessment process involves quantitative survey research and in-depth qualitative interviews among the organization’s leaders (policy-makers) and “customer-facing” employees.  An organization’s PSMOTM profile is used to determine specific strategies and tactical programs that can be implemented to achieve a more effective set of social media policies to drive better employee selection, retention, leadership, and branding.

For more information about the PSMOTM program, feel free to contact Andrea Goldberg, Ph.D., President of Digital Culture Consulting, LLC. (http://www.digitalcultureconsulting.com/)

6 Questions to Answer Before Engaging In Social Media Marketing

With so much hype around social media, many business and marketing executives are rushing to use social media platforms for their organizations.  They are putting up Facebook pages, getting Twitter handles and brushing up their LinkedIn company profiles.  Unfortunately, many of these executives are going straight to executing tactics without putting sufficient effort into creating the right strategy for their businesses.  While these initiatives may succeed, often they miss the mark.   Before engaging in social media marketing, it is a good idea to first address the following questions:

  1. What are your objectives?  Why does your business need to invest in social media?  Do you want to improve your brand, find new customers, gain market insights or simply improve relationships with existing customers?  The choice of platform and tactics wll differs depending on the answers.
  2. Who are your target audiences and how will you attract them?  Even if you build something great, you will need a way to get the right kinds of people to engage.
  3. How do social media initiatives tie in with your other marketing programs?  Social media needs to part of an integrated strategy.  It should complement and reinforce your other communications and branding messages.  It might have a slightly different tone and target audience, but should not fight against other communications.
  4. Do you have the resources or a plan in place to not only create social media vehicles, but to care and feed them and keep them current?  You may need to hire a community manager or assign someone to focus on this.
  5. What metrics are you going to use?  You need to measure whether you are achieving what you are trying to achieve.  You may want to adjust your actions based on what the metrics are showing.   The sooner you can figure out what is working and what is not, the faster you can achieve success.
  6. Have you engaged with your employees and solicited their help?   Remember that whatever you put out there your employees, as well as, your clients will have access to.  Employees can be powerful brand advocates if properly trained and motivated.

Social media can be a powerful tool for your business, but you need to approach it thoughtfully and thoroughly. Having a social media strategy in place, before you act, is usually a very good idea!

10 Tips on How to Handle Social Media Policies

Social media is not just for large companies and can be used  by companies of all sizes to create on-line presence, monitor brands, and improve customer service.  Small companies have found success leveraging Twitter and blogs and others have grown exponentially based on well crafted or viral YouTube videos.

Organizations are also using social media to improve employee engagement, locate hard to find candidates, improve communications, promote virtual work and remove geographic barriers.  There are benefits to having employees participate in social media, but to maximize success and avoid embarassing employee actions, business leaders need to:

1.      Recognize and reinforce the positive role  employees  play in shaping a company’s on-line brand.  They can serve as brand ambassadors, promote core values and new products.

2.      Communicate to employees what is expected and how they should engage in social media.
If employees are not aware of what the company brand stands for, they might inadvertently hurt the brand or alienate current and future customers.

3.      Understand how social media can be misused by employees and develop the appropriate social media guidelines and policies.

4.      Train employees and managers on what the  guidelines mean and the specific actions they should take or not take.

5.      Implement and monitor.  Reward those who comply and punish those that don’t.

If you are writing a policy remember:

6.      If a social media user is not an official company spokesperson they should add a disclaimer and state that the opinions and positions expressed are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of their company.

7.      Social media users need to respect their audience and not use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace.

8.      Guidelines need to address sticky issues such as whether  managers should be allowed to friend their employees and vice versa.

9.      Guidelines should be specific, policies that are too broad can be misinterpreted

10.   Protect your company and brand.  Ensure employees do not disparage employers in public.

What are your  concerns about having employees engage in social media and how have you addressed this?  Please share your comments on Twitter @dccTips or Facebook at dccUpdate.

Don’t Blame the Tool: The Case for Social Media Guidelines

Is social media good or bad for organizations and for society?  The debate rages on.  We hear stories of revolutions being enabled by individuals who now have an outlet to share their grievances and the ability to organize across distances, as well as gratified customers who are able to get instant feedback to their questions and concerns.  On the internal side of organizations,  there are stories of how social media has enabled employees to participate in organizational strategies and collaborate with peers in remote locations.  These cases extol the virtues of  engagement and recognize the value of enabling individuals and employees to have a voice.   It would appear that social media is a tool for good and a way for all of us to be heard.

Yet, we also hear stories of misuse, such as a policeman in Albuquerque, New Mexico listing his job on Facebook as “human waste disposal” or an angry  teacher in Philadelphia writing about  her students that “They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners“.  Of course, these displays are not limited to those in the public sector.  There are plenty of stories of employees being disciplined and or fired after writing negative comments about their managers, employers and customers on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. We scratch our heads and ask, what were they thinking?

Should we be surprised at what appears to be in many cases a lack of judgment?  Aren’t these tools new and aren’t many still experimenting?  Or, perhaps many are still a bit giddy with their ability to publish and be heard.  Some, I am sure, are mislead by the intimacy that is created as they sit alone with their computers.   They might not think about how things have a way of being retweeted or going viral.    Clearly, Congressman Anthony Weiner learned this lesson all too well.

So what should we do to protect folks from themselves or our employees and companies from being embarrassed or put out of business?    The simple answer is to develop social media guidelines, train folks on them, implement and monitor them and reward those who comply and punish those that don’t.  But, unfortunately, there is nothing really simple about doing this.  This is probably the reason that only about a third of American companies currently have social media guidelines in place.

One of the lessons many companies have learned in developing and implementing social media guidelines is that one size fits all guidelines do not make sense.  Social media guidelines need to reflect the industry one is in, the organizational  culture, the existing structure and represent the needs of multiple stakeholders.  They cannot simply be created as an HR owned exercise or developed by an isolated committee with good intentions.  If management or employees do not understand what they mean or how to implement them, the actual guidelines will not do any good.  Like all change, there will be resistance, so getting those that are impacted engaged in the process is critical.  And, since this is about communications, one must make sure marketing and communications professionals are included and actively involved.

Employees play a large role in shaping a company’s brand.  They can serve as brand ambassadors and help promote core values or new products.  But, it is important that they know what is expected of them, and how they should engage on both internal social media platforms and external ones.  Otherwise they may inadvertently hurt the brand or alienate current and future customers.

It is wise to take advantage of those organizations that have learned how to do this well.  Many have learned the hard way what works and what does not.  For starters, check out IBM’s, Intel’s and Kodak’s guidelines.  They are on-line and all you need to do is Google them.  But remember this needs to be the start of the process, not the end.   Social media is a tool and like all tools the instructions for use are critical.  Social media can be a source of good or bad…the key is to recognize the value of using the tools correctly and the danger of doing things poorly.   If you  think your employees are not participating in  social media and you do not need to do something about this, you are probably wrong.  I can almost assure you that they  are indeed talking about you!!  But, if you do not have the skill or time to do this yourself, have no fear, you can always  hire a consultant (hint hint)!