Unleash your employees to take your company into social media

    To Tweet or not to Tweet? That is the question. Perhaps more generally, the question every business must ask itself right now is whether or not it wants to engage the company and/or its people in social media.

    As the cover story of this week’s BizTimes Milwaukee documents, many southeastern Wisconsin businesses are delving into social media networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

    Some are finding ways to actually make money out of their social media connections. Others are building their networks and planting seeds for future relationships and – hopefully – new business.

    Like many of the issues we cover, BizTimes Media LLC also has been grappling with the same questions that our readers are pondering. With regard to social media, we made the strategic decision a month or so back to just do it.

    I’ve instructed our people not to obsess over it. It’s just another emerging tool, and for now, we just need to be in the game.

    I do not consider myself a technogeek. Nor am I a technophobe. Maybe just a slow adopter would be the right description.

    Fortunately for me, we have a staff of Gen Y folks who are fearless when it comes to technology. So, they just decided to take us where we need to go.

    Reporters Alysha Schertz and Eric Decker, managing editor Andrew Weiland, as well as Vanessa Serkowski and Shelly Tabor in our productin department, got us up and and running on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and You Tube. Our editorial content is being streamed, and our editorial staff is Tweeting.

    Alysha even taught Andrew how to create something called a Tweetdeck.

    The next thing I knew, our staff was bringing in local social media experts such as Al Krueger, Ryan Thompson, Sara Meaney and Wayne Breitbarth to help guide us in this new medium and generate a buzz for the upcoming BizTech Conference & Expo. They did this on their own.

    The smartest thing I have done in recent memory is to empower these young people. They are showing this old dog some new tricks, and our company is going to be better off for it.

    The latest innovation came when I just decided to let Alysha jump into webcasting video interviews. It was something I had contemplated for the past year. Alysha just flat out got it done and then told me how she did it. You can find her videos in her BizTimes Bubbler bulletins (www.biztimes.com/bubbler). Now, she’s teaching herself how to edit the video content.

    If your company has some bright, young, ambitious people on your staff, I highly recommend you consider unleashing them to drag your company into the world of social media. Their creativity may astound you and open your eyes to new possibilities. It could stoke your entire company.

    My biggest fear about social media is that it would just add more tedious tasks to my already crazy schedule. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    We’ll see where it all goes. Who knows? A year from now, Twitter could be a trivia question, a stepping stone along the way to the next great application. But at least you’ll be on the path of wherever it takes us, and you may be ahead of your competition.


    Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. To link to the BizTimes Milwaukee Twitter feeds, click here.

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