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This isn’t to say that you can just cut employees loose on Twitter and hope that everything turns out okay. During our interviews for The Social Employee, every organization we spoke to had some form of a social media policy—such as IBM’s frequently adopted guidelines. But such a policy is really only the beginning. As Mark Burgess recently proposed in the inaugural issue of the Rutgers Business Review, empowering social employee advocates requires an entire culture shift—or as he called it, a social ecosystem.

The idea for the social ecosystem came after mounting evidence that a majority of social initiatives fail. The reasons for this vary, but are generally a result of a lack of clear objectives, poor integration within the company, and failure to generate buy-in among both executives and employees. To borrow the old saying, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Whether social or otherwise, programs without a clear goal and buy-in aren’t very likely to succeed.

Identify Leaders. Build an Ecosystem

One fundamental pillar of the social ecosystem is leadership through a social governance council. This group is comprised not only of executives seeking to drive innovation, but social leaders thrutgers-business-review-blue-focus-marketing-ecosystem-froughout the organization as well. These social leaders are essential for establishing and driving the proper environment for social adoption to thrive. That’s why, in my work with the Economist Intelligence Unit, we focused on traits such as storytelling, culture shaping, and visionary thinking when determining the top social leaders in business today.

Naturally, building a social ecosystem takes time and some trial and error. Such an investment may give brands cold feet. But make no mistake, with over 90 percent of brands planning or already implementing some form of social employee advocacy program, doing so is more than just a good idea. It’s a business imperative.






Download “Sharing the Future:  The New Social Ecosystem” by Mark Burgess.  Rutgers Business Review. Vol. 1. No 1, pp. 107-122.

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Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

TSE_Front_NEW3D Amazon_agold-book     The 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, journalist for The New York Times, The Economist and Fast Company

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