How brands use social media to re-invent themselves from the inside out.

I recently got a great post comment from @mikescheiner that I thought was extremely well put. He wrote:

“What most brands fail to understand is the perception you produce internally is reflected externally.”

This is spot on and I wanted to discuss how social media can be used to rally company employees around their brand, its values and purpose.  For what is often overlooked is that employees are a brand’s first line of marketing, its original sales force that is consciously or unconsciously providing word of mouth advertising as an extension of their job.

So how does a company use social media for internal alignment? Here are a few suggestions:

Video Blogging: Each month a CEO can create a video post that speaks to the company’s progress, employee issues and reiterate the brand’s core values.

Intranet: Using the blog, email, Facebook and twitter, management can create a safe space for employees to have a voice in terms of new ideas, responses to proposed initiatives and, ideally, offer negative feedback.

Employee Content: In line with the core values of the brand, employees should be given the chance to post content that reflects what they care about. For instance, videos of them volunteering at an animal shelter or running for a cure for cancer. If these are consistent with the brand’s overarching values it shows congruency between the company and proves that management values those efforts.

Used correctly these tools can be transformative within an organization both inside and outside the company walls (as Brian Solis discusses in detail here and in Engage.) But let’s take one example of what a company might do to show you how it operates internally.

Leap cr (pictured above) is a fantastic new platform that makes it super easy for corporations to mobilize their employee base in the service of causes that are meaningful to the brand and employees. They’ve created a simple interface that includes a company dashboard that allows employees to choose from over 350 charities and an endless array of simple, fun and one-off  volunteering events. They then manage all the logistics of participation for a minimal fee. Employees can track and interact across the dashboard and social networks about what their colleagues are doing and compete to see who’s on top of the leader board. Then at the end of it all, management receives insightful reporting that they can use internally or for PR purposes.

Concepts like Leap cr are so brilliant because they offer mangement, employees and the community so many benefits. Let’s consider how:

HR: When employees understand their role and the purpose of the company, this improves employee happiness, loyalty and retention.

CSR: The company not only contributes to the world at large but it also creates a healthier business environment.

PR: Employees become a more effective marketing tool for the brand and management gets to market the brand’s contribution.

P&L: Employee satisfaction, effective team building and a healthier business environment all contribute to corporate savings and returns.

Leadership brands are already deep diving into social media to reach consumers. What they must also do is also leverage these tools within their own walls to double the impact of such efforts. To reach Leap cr visit www.leapcr.com and to stay  in touch with their U.S. roll-out, follow @havefundogood and @leapanywhere.

Have you seen any good examples of brands using social media internally? What other ways can you imagine it could be used?