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Steve Farnsworth is the Chief Digital Strategist at Jolt Digital Marketing where he consults mid to large organizations on communication strategies to create product preference and build customer communities that foster brand loyalty. With over 13 years as a senior executive, Steve writes, blogs, and speaks about how smart companies can effectively integrate social media, PR 2.0, and content marketing into their marketing mix. As a director with the Silicon Valley Brand Forum and an adviser to other professional organizations, Steve has moderated panels, spoken at or facilitated industry events at Intel, Yahoo!, HP, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Adobe, Electronic Arts, Hewlett-Packard, and Stanford. In 2012, he Steve is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 31 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Social Business Starts With Leaders Connecting Socially To Employees

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One of the huge benefits that social media (still) has going for it is that it still feels very intimate. Some people complain that social media dilutes their “real” relationships and enhances their less meaningful ones, and that can be entirely true depending on how you choose to use and it with whom. But inside small and medium-sized companies, the opposite is happening. People are developing more real relationships, especially with executive leadership, which in turn means more influence for good ideas, transformation change and sales.

A Friendlier Way To Send The Company A Message

Social networks – especially those run internally at small and medium-size companies – can supercharge relationships for executives and other influencers in an organization. I work full-time for small financial services company and spend most of my day coaching people about how to use and maximize the relationship and messaging capabilities of our new social networking tool. My work includes everything from creating full-blown communications strategies, right down to ghostwriting for some of our senior leaders.

And while most of the people that I’m supporting get very focused on what they want to say, how they are going to say it and how people are going to respond, they often overlook one of the most valuable aspects of putting their message out on our social media platform. Unlike a company memo sent via e-mail (yes, we still do those) or an article splashed on the home page of the company intranet, employees feel like you are really talking directly to the executive when the message is posted as a blog or microblog within our social network.

Speaking Intimately With Workers – Appropriately

The personal nature of blogging – it uses first person (“I” statements), it allows comments, and looks informal – all lead people to feel like they are having a more intimate conversation with the executive. And as a result, they are most inclined to comment, share or embrace the message. In other words, this has been an opportunity for our leaders to feel like they are talking directly to employees, but more importantly, for employees to feel like they are involved in a conversation, not just receiving word from on high.

So if you are thinking about a message that must resonate with people, then think about using your social media platform before anything else. It will feel more like a conversation and less like a mandate.

Published at DZone with permission of Steve Farnsworth, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)