Last night it was a privilege to be invited to be part of a panel at the Asia-Pacific Professional Services Marketing Association (APSMA) here in New Zealand. Other panel members included Tim Parkman (Director of Channel Sales for Trade and Enterprise New Zealand) along with Damian Newland (Enterprise Sales Manager NZ for LinkedIn). The evening was hosted by Kirsten Hodgson.

With 40+ people in a packed room, the panel fielded questions around the use of social media. I was impressed by the maturity of the questions being asked. While comments were briefly mentioned about the inappropriateness of gaining Facebook likes, the conversation was more around business objectives.

There was an awareness of the need to enable employees to become more social. There is value in leveraging audiences that employees have created through the use of Blogs, Twitter, Videos etc. Employees play a critical part in the success of customer acquisition for the Professional Services Organisation (PSO).

When you empower the employee to be active on social networks, they are able to establish themselves as thought leaders to current and future customers and industry associations. It also provides a unique way for customers to connect directly with subject matter experts within your organisation. This will often reduce the cost of customer acquisition, providing an immediate ROI.

I was pleased that the question was raised about how to get people involved in using both internal and external social media. We talked about the success IBM had through the use a simple process of gamification. By providing achievable challenges and virtual rewards, employees can become competitive as they learn how to solve real business problems through Social Media. This sort of learning can also be learned to help employees learn almost anything, while having fun.

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