“Be yourself.” It’s one of the rules of social media. If you’re blogging, tweeting or Facebooking for business, be real—or you won’t be followed.
Yet, how do you pull off “authentic” while maintaining the company brand message?
It’s tough enough for a small business. What if you’re #2 on Business Week’s best global brands list, with nearly 400,000 employees across 170 countries?
At IBM, it’s about losing control.
“We don’t have a corporate blog or a corporate Twitter ID because we want the ‘IBMers’ in aggregate to be the corporate blog and the corporate Twitter ID,” says Adam Christensen, social media communications at IBM Corporation.
“We represent our brand online the way it always has been, which is employees first. Our brand is largely shaped by the interactions that they have with customers.”
Thousands of IBMers are the voice of the company. Such an approach might be surprising for #14 on the Fortune 500.
Edgy at 114
At 114 years old, IBM seems to be the Madonna of the corporate world, staying relevant from decade to decade. The first company to build a mainframe computer and help NASA land a man on the moon still holds more patents than any other U.S.-based technology company.
As it turns out, its decentralized social media approach is another milestone in the company’s history—driving unprecedented collaboration and innovation.
IBM lets employees talk—to each other and the public—without intervention. With a culture as diverse and distributed as IBM’s, getting employees to collaborate and share makes good business sense.
“We’re very much a knowledge-based company. It’s really the expertise of the employee that we’re hitting on,” Christensen says.