Great companies go social for many reasons

Social Media and #SXSW


MasterCard logo used on cards 1997 to present.

MasterCard logo used on cards 1997 to present. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I’ve never been to #SXSW, even though a lot of HR people go now.  It always seems as if a work project or ten gets in the way of going to a massive party/business event.  That’s why I’m glad that there is so much coverage of the awesome panels and presentations.  You can still learn and benefit from the event.


This morning, I saw a great post over on the {grow} blog by Mark Schaefer entitled 25 amazing social media quotes from #SXSW 2014. The post shares 25 highlights from a panel covering current social media best practices and issues featuring representatives from Whole Foods, Siemens, IBM and MasterCard.  You can check out the full post by clicking through the link, but I wanted to focus on one subset topic that stood out for me while reading the post.


Ten out of the twenty-five quotes dealt with employees and leadership, including the C-suite.  The quotes reference engagement, culture, performance goals, productivity, adoption and innovation in the workplace. I especially like the first quote from Sandy Carter of IBM.


The Business of Social and People


Check out these quotes from the panel:


Sandy Carter GM Ecosystems and Social Business IBM


“Social media does not change your culture, it reveals it.”


“If all you did to improve your commercial presence was to train your sales people on the importance of influencers … how much more effective could they be?”


“Some CEO’s feel like if the ‘opt out of social’ they are somehow protected. That is just crazy.”


“We have our own internal version of Klout.  We do rate people in this way – their effectiveness on social media. Tying social into a performance measurement works. The productivity of a sales who has an effective social media presence is 3x an employee who is not active on the web.”


Mike Stenberg VP web & infrastructure Siemens


“If you have the leadership team be social, it will set an example for others. It can’t flow from the ground up. To get the middle managers involved, it has to be demonstrated from the top.”


Andrew Bowins SVP External Communications MasterCard


“To drive employee adoption, you need to give them a message to rally around. Something to inspire and create pride. And then you need to take down the internal rules that stifle engagement and creativity.”


Natanya Anderson Social Media Coordinator – Whole Foods


“Creating a social enterprise with hourly employees is incredibly hard. There are labor laws, policies to deal with, personalities and people that are always churning. You always have to wonder, is this a person helping us with social or are they just texting their friends?”


“Company culture is the hardest part of the puzzle. After that it is just policy and procedures and that is pretty easy to solve.”


“Getting buy-in for social from the C-suite is usually not so difficult. It is the next level of management who present the biggest challenge to enterprise social media. They are actually responsible for the human resources to get the job done.”


“To overcome adoption hurdles, you have to make it easy to integrate social into the work employees are already doing. It can’t be a scary commitment – it has to be a natural extension of what you do. We have trained our employees to do their jobs with any eye toward social – If they admire a new product on our shelf, use a camera to give a visual image into the store and all that they love, Make it crazy easy to participate.”


Great companies go social  for many reasons.


Last quote deals with customers, the outsiders to the organization:


“In just 200 tweets we can assess and identify 52 different personality traits of a customer. We ran an analysis over 500,000 people and we really nailed this. Think of providing this powerful insight to a retailer. We can see what they value, not just what they are buying.  We have found a 40-45% increase in sales when you recommend upsales based on values instead of past buying behavior.”


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