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Dear Executive,

The social media landscape is exciting and there’s a lot happening. Consumers are sharing stories and learning about — and loving — your brands. We wish you were here. A blog post or article about your brand may roll through your inbox from time to time, but to truly appreciate the conversations happening, you need to be online.

Dip your toe in…

Ideally you’re online sharing your own thoughts and ideas. We understand you are always under the thumb of legal and PR, but there’s plenty to share and lots of people you can talk to with no risk of tarnishing your public image.

Be a lurker if you have to!

The point is that you are involved on some level, even if you’re just watching your audience. This is the most open marketing opportunity your company currently has available. You should witness firsthand how much information moves through social channels, not to mention how quickly it moves.

Don’t be shocked.

People are sharing stories about your brands (good and bad, so don’t take it too personally). The roots of those ideas and stories about your brands start with the consumers’ experiences. They might have seen a commercial, heard about your product from a friend, or even be customers themselves. There is a very big opportunity to have an active role in these conversations to see how your company is touching their everyday lives.

Don’t hold back.

Within reason, most online posts by your audience can be addressed. You might not always be able to tell the tone of the author, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to learn about them and the reason for their post. It is a conversation after all. It’s an opportunity to test your assumptions.

Empower the Chief Employees.

Empowering employees is a hot topic, and it must be said that ALL employees should be considered for social programs, including the Chief Officers. Lead by example, be fearless and show everyone you are involved. Sure, social media is a part of the marketing machine, and now this open medium can be an integral part of your business. Take advantage of it!

Oh, and that article that’s in your inbox? It likely started with a consumer experience that was shared online. Consumers are speaking up and likely not getting the answers they wanted. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a say before that post was written?

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