On Facebook you can’t be a “friend” of a brand but you can be a “fan” of a brand. While it sounds like a subtle difference it is actually an important distinction. Brands are the sum total of the experience a customer has when they are interacting with your brand. But on Facebook that interaction is relatively low and un-engaging. The interactions people may have with your brand will be limited to the people they interact with from your company.

Companies just don’t get it

Many companies limit the use of Social Media at work which I think is very short sighted.

“Of those not allowed to use social media at work, 65 percent said their managers block access to sites like YouTube, Facebook and Flickr because they’re afraid employee productivity will suffer.” Ragan Communications

Blocking social media sites entirely may not be a good idea. There will always be people who abuse trust and spend time on social media sites with non-work related activities, but I believe the benefits outweigh the risks in the long run.

Building and allowing personal brands to flourish is important to having a strong social brand. It’s the sum total of many personal brands that make up that experience people have with your brand on Social Networks like Facebook.

So if you are going to allow access to social networks spend some time pulling together some guidelines for your employees. The IBM Social Computing Guidelines have been called “The Constitution” of Social Media / Blogging guidelines and a good place to start.

3 Takeaways for companies who want a strong social brand

  1. Allow as many personal brands to grow in your company
  2. Empower them with tools (guidelines, group blogware etc)
  3. Train them on how to be a brand ambassador

Brands cannot make an impact by shouting at you with advertising anymore – and in Social Networks it doesn’t even work! It’s the people of the brand that can make the difference. So empower them with the tools and training they need and watch as your social brand grows!


Paul Dunay is the Global Director of Integrated Marketing for BearingPoint a Management and Technology Consulting firm and author of the blog Buzz Marketing for Technology.