By Steven Dickens, IBM
So, your company is encouraging you to join the army of people who tweet about how great your company is and how customers should buy your products… You have reservations and naturally you want to know what is in it for you, what the downside is and what you and your company will gain as a result of you becoming ‘socially active.’
Well, I am biased, so let me put that out there first! I have been on social media advocating for IBM since 2010 and have built a following totaling almost 6,000 followers on Twitter and over 2,000 viewers a month on my blog, so I am what you could call a ‘social media fanboy.’ But it hasn't all been plain sailing, so let me share my experiences, both bad and good.
First let’s start with the bad. The biggest challenge is it takes time to do it right every day. If you want to build an engaged and dedicated following, then you need to be engaged and dedicated yourself. You have to post original content regularly, engage with your followers and be prepared to respond to questions at weird times of the day.
The other negative is that social media can take on a life of its own. As you build followers, you will develop a whole new set of connections and people you interact with. For me this has evolved into a parallel business network of social influencers and brand advocates for partner companies. Maintaining these connections and keeping this network happy can become a job in of itself.
However, don’t let this level of commitment put you off… the benefits far outweigh the downside. For me at least, social media has opened career opportunities, built strong relationships with non-traditional suppliers, allowed me to grow sales, get access to cool parties and build my own eminence.
Let me give you a few examples:
Through Social Media, I have been able to build lasting, productive relationships with key industry movers and shakers, who would normally not take my call. These relationships have delivered business insight, opened new client engagements and allowed me to shape product strategy based on insight that would be hard if not impossible to find elsewhere.
From a personal perspective, I have been able to advance my own career off the back of my social eminence, and I firmly believe that without my social presence I would have fewer career options. So my overwhelming advice, is engage, get social, post content… put simply AMPlify your companies message and build your own presence in the process… you will not regret it.
Steven is an avid supporter of using social media tools to increase customer engagement and further awareness of IBM's enterprise Linux and cloud offerings. In his role, he serves as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in advocating, evangelizing and championing clients deploying IBM’s LinuxONE brand of servers. Steven is also currently on the board of the Open Mainframe Project a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project promoting Linux on the mainframe. He has spent nearly 20 years in the Information Technology industry, with considerable experience in both hardware and software platforms in Specialist Sales and Product Management roles for organizations such as CA, HP and latterly for IBM.
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