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10 Ways To Foster Effective Social Employees

Social business tools can be used effectively, or they can be a huge time sink.

6. Get All Hands On Deck

Speaking of participation, one of the great things about social media is that anyone can be a marketer or a salesperson, enabling organizations to multiply and magnify their messaging by tapping into staff members across departments. "Amplify your marketing and messaging," said Michael Freeman, Shoretel's senior manager of search. "Your company may have a lot of followers, but it is probably nowhere close to the size of the extended network of your employees. Having your employees tweet and retweet about important events or articles from your website can have a huge impact on driving new traffic to your website and generating leads."

7. Foster Cross-Departmental Communication

When users in different departments communicate and collaborate with each other on social channels, new opportunities are sure to arise. For example, said John Hagel, co-chairman of Deloitte's Center for the Edge, "cross-boundary communication and conversation will enable product development, marketing and engineering to reach clarity on product requirements earlier in the process."

8. Model Good Behavior

Company executives should be as active, if not more active, on internal social business platforms as the next guy. It's important for users to see that social is considered a key communications tool by everyone in the organization.

9. Reward Good Behavior

Let's face it: In some way, shape or form, we're all still after the stickers our teachers put on our best work. Many social platforms have reward systems built in, recognizing participation with badges and other virtual perks. How, when, why and with what you reward users will depend on your company culture and the level of people involved, but it's important to identify models and to demonstrate (for all to see) that involvement is valued.

10. Measure And Communicate Success

Along those same lines, it's important to develop and communicate metrics for success. What matters will differ depending on your organization's size, industry, products, current goals for social and so on, but to be truly effective and productive, users need to know what the end goals are.

How are you making users more effective and productive through the use of social business tools? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

Companies must build more social networking bridges to customers, suppliers and partners -- not just among internal users. Also in the new, all-digital Get (Truly) Social issue of InformationWeek: Instead of worrying about overseas hackers, worry about the sorry state of your information security defenses. (Free with registration.)

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Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/8/2013 | 12:54:33 PM
re: 10 Ways To Foster Effective Social Employees
I definitely agree with #5. Many of the social media policies and guidelines about which I've read define unacceptable behaviors by employees who use social media. Those are quite important, as employees should know which types of posts could hurt the business (including those that carry legal implications), but this could leave them wondering how to create posts and content that are actually very helpful. Guidelines that offer only information about what not to do can even deter the employees from using social media because they may be afraid of negative consequence. But by providing positive feedback about the ideas they can convey to their clients and to others, they will feel more motivated, knowledgeable, and encouraged to use these sites.
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