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Win in Social Media by Treating Employees Right

I was flipping through a copy of Fast Company when I saw another one of those quotes. You know the kind I mean, where the CEO talks about how treating the employees right ensures that they treat the customers right. Some of them are just saying what people want to hear, but this particular quote was from David Pickens, the president of the highly successful Olive Garden chain of restaurants. Pickens summed it up nicely with, “It’s very difficult for the experience of the guests to exceed the experience of the staff.”
You’ve probably seen lots of service companies talk the same way. Home Depot swears that their employee stock program is a big part of what helps their employees care about their company rather than the company.
So what does this have to do with the Internet? Plenty. You might not realize it, but social media is turning every company into a service company. Think about it.
You’re never going to have a blogging department. You’re going to have employees that blog on top of their day job. Maybe it’s that engineer in product development talking about the new technology coming along. Or that veteran sales guy who has forgotten more customer problems and solutions than most people will ever know. That’s who you want writing your blog posts. How do you get them to write things that make the company look good? Treating them well seems like the least you can do.
You’re never going to have a Twitter team, either. Or a message board department. If you expect your customer service team to check to see what complaints are popping up online, you might need to treat them nicely.
Of course, you don’t have to treat anyone nicely. You can just order them to hop to—get on those message boards and monitor those tweets and write those blogs. Then you can sit back and see what happens. But it might not be pretty. Forced social media looks forced. Instead, allow your happy and enthusiastic employees to let their attitudes shine through.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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