Social networksNext generation managers see the potential to “build the brand” of internal teams and evolve their functions as key benefits of social involvement. Professional development of employees and subsequently their teams are some of the many benefits companies are realizing as a result of their involvement in social. This is in addition to the more well-known benefits of social media activitiy: Higher customer satisfaction, increased sales, and heightened brand awareness.

In The Workplace Benefits of an Active Social Media Life, we explored the collaboration opportunities, efficiencies and personal feelings of success and accomplishment team members may experience as a result of an active social presence. Next generation managers can guide their team as a whole to bring their achievements and function forward in the company with a comprehensive social strategy.

In most companies, different teams constantly jostle for influence. Some managers seeking to please upper management react to this need to stand out by taking on any task that comes their way.

Others hire expensive consultants in an effort to build their team’s influence by increasing productivity, innovation, or otherwise becoming best in class. However, the current state of the economy makes this tactic less attractive and often unattainable.

Internal social networks are a fantastic tool for teams in large organizations for gaining visibility and connectivity, however, the potential for learning and amplification of influence through external networks can’t be overlooked. Through participation in external groups and networks, individual employees can elevate their team via awareness and thought leadership. External social media also gives team members a chance to benchmark their activities, develop themselves professionally and keep up with the latest.

LinkedIn, for example, offers Groups for members with like interests to chat, collaborate, and share content. Blogs and specialized professional communities abound online. Managers need to encourage and enable team members to become active participants in the greater conversations in their industry. In the early days of social media, both companies and their employees were leery about the association of one with the other on social channels. As social media has matured, employees are working to build their personal brand and that of their employer through their topical social activity on networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.

Do you know what your team members say about their work or the brand in social? Next generation managers want their employees active in social media; they want to encourage positive talk and intelligent conversation relevant to the industry. This requires clear guidelines, of course. Enabling employees to participate means letting them know what is expected of them and participating in the conversation alongside them.

Managers can use the social activity of team members to elevate the team internally by being fully aware of what’s happening around their employees in social spaces and celebrating successes. They can highlight great comments or insight by sharing that activity with the rest of the team. They can ensure upper management are aware of the team’s influence externally, to elevate them internally.

The question is no longer “Do we want our employees participating in social?” They’re already there. Smart managers are learning to identify and capitalize on this opportunity, both in and outside of the company.

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