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Pitney Bowes Goes Social — So Can You
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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Taking your company social is no easy feat: resistance, anxiety, and fear from the top, as well as the same from line managers and staff; a PR roadblock for sure. One major U.S. company, however, has done it — and done it well. The Pitney Bowes social media program was featured this week in a webinar presented by PR Week and sponsored by DynamicSignal.

Since going social, the Pitney Bowes social advocacy program has achieved startling results in just six months:
  • More than 100 Pitney Bowes employees are active advocates of the program
  • 8,100 social shares
  • 4.7m impressions
  • 24k clicks
  • 4,750 reactions
“One of the key components of devising a successful social media program,” says Pitney Bowes Social Media Director Bart Casabona, “is identifying who is the social employee.” For that, he says, he looks for four things in staff, i.e., those who are:
  • Always on
  • Mobile first
  • Collaborative by nature
  • Open to challenge and change
“It’s important to realize that this is a partnership,” says Bart, “and that without employee participation and enthusiasm, the program will fail.”

Two other things to remember, he says, are to recognize and reward early adopters and active members and to encourage content creation. Other key takeaways from the webinar:
  • Make your case to leadership that social media is a business asset, not a fluffy "wanna-have."
  • Legal and HR should be consulted and part of any company social media program.
  • Employee advocacy social media programs should realize the importance of partnering with inside influencers.
  • For more polarizing companies (like tobacco), an employee program might NOT be the best place to play out your message.
  • Spot awards, gift cards, and leader boards are a great way to encourage employees to participate.
  • Hashtags, pulling reports, real-time effort, and mobile may seem simple, but are imperative to the success of social media programs.
  • Scaling a company’s social media program worldwide is complex. Activating is not a cookie-cutter process. Choose the countries with the friendliest laws and rules first, and the ones that speak English.
  • Things WILL go wrong. Plan for it, have guidelines in place, and train your social advocacy staff. But keep perspective. You should not force employees to opt in to being social.
The Social Employees: Your Secret PR Weapon webinar was facilitated by Neal Schaffer, author and founder at Maximize Your Social.

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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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