What If Sharing Replaced Marketing?


What if instead of hiring someone to build your corporate Twitter account, you trusted everyone to use social media to get their jobs done?

The byproduct of all their sharing would be marketing.

Instead of “trying” to be authentic, you’d actually BE authentic.  Your work force would use social media to get their jobs done, and organically build awareness in stride.

There’d be no “content marketing.” Just real conversations that could be easily found via search engines and social after the fact.

Customer service inquiries would be deflected because the systematic transfer of organizational intelligence to the social web would mean more answers to frequently asked questions woudl be accessible on a self-service basis.

Not through marketing. But through actual conversations. Shel Holtz wrote about the value of customer service as content marketing recently on his blog.

Here’s the Problem
Organizations are scared someone will share something they shouldn’t, or say something that damages their reputation.

So they issue gag orders to frontline employees and let isolated “spokespeople” (who are less trusted while the real SMEs who have the info people need most are restricted from speaking publicly.

Sounds crazy when you think about it like this, but it’s standard operating procedure for most organizations.  The risks associated with social media communications at scale are manageable, as long as everyone gets social media literacy and compliance training.

“Although specific social media policies have become the norm, not many businesses provide training to employees about the do’s and don’ts of social media use. Such training reduces the risk of misuse,” writes global employment law firm Proskauer in a study on social media use at work.

Digital leaders are already providing this type of training.  The NYT reported that Google is deliverying social media trainings on Madison Avenue.  Twitter recently launched their own social media training school, and the NYPD is sending cops to Twitter school.  And the premise of the indie summer blockbuster Chef was predicated on a misunderstanding of Twitter privacy.

In the old days organizations media trained their CEOs. In the digital age, they’re social media training the entire workforce.