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September 10th, 2007

Corporate Social Media: The Individual’s Dependance on the Corporation – Part 2

In the previous post I talked about how corporations that are creating social media programs inherently need to rely upon the individuals involved with those initiatives. But what about the individuals? Quoting from the previous post:

On the flip side, what about an individual that becomes associated with a brand. In some cases they’re not an individual, they’re the company’s blogger. I’ve seen it happen at conferences, “Oh hey, John….you’re X’s blogger?” They’re always introduced as John, X’s Blogger, never just John. It’s like without that qualifier at the end they wouldn’t be anybody.

What happens when they want to move on but the corporate brand overshadows their own?

It’s a double-edged sword. The major brand is what has put them in a position to possibly move on to other opportunities, but that brand can also obscure them.

Sometimes you also get lost in the crowd at large corporations. Would you want to hire the PR person that ‘oversaw’ the blog or the person that actually wrote the blog? Executives taking too much credit for their staff’s work is nothing new.

What do you do if you’re the company blogger and want to establish your own identity? In smaller circles this is easy since the majority of the people you interact with via the blog will hopefully know you. It’s a natural effect of the blog and the interaction between individuals. In many cases that might be all you need. If you’re looking to move on, often it’s the folks in the small circle that are your best resources.

Recently Jeremiah talked about his career blog, or a blog that moved with him from job to job. It’s part personal, it’s part professional. Striking the balance is the challenge though.

In my case, I’m fortunate because my name and brand, Hyku, are somewhat synonymous. But then again I work for myself :-)

A number of ‘corporate blogging’ friends I know also have personal blogs. Some are open about this, as in it’s easy to find them and the connection. A few others like to keep thing separate and on the DL. It’s only their friends that know the address. However, we all know that keeping something hidden in plain sight doesn’t always work.

One little issue is the simple Google search of their name. Many times the corporate blog will be the first result. The only way to gain control of that is to get out there and start blogging/linking, etc. Taking on too much of a personal presence could cause tension at work though.

Facebook might be the solution. A number of corporate bloggers I know are my friends on Facebook, it’s a great way to network.

Getting back to the question, what should/can a corporate blogger do to establish their identity?

First off, own your name, create a basic site/blog that is your personal brand. What you do there is open for debate, but it’s important that friends know how to locate/interact with you outside the corporation you work for.

What else should one do? Comments?

About the Author
Josh Hallett leads up the Voce Connect Client Services team, managing the care and feeding of clients and developing social media strategies with the rest of the team. You can also read his personal Hyku blog and follow him on Twitter @hyku.

Filed in Public Relations, Social Media

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