Shortest Path To Social Success: Hire Smart People

I rather enjoy Peter Kim’s thoughts on the web and technology in general. I’ve included him in posts and projects produced for The Future Buzz for years, so longtime readers already know him.

Recently Peter shared the following Tweet that got me thinking:

It’s interesting and fascinating to consider, although not new: that we’re all connected in such a way anyone’s actions can easily be made public and potentially seen by everyone.

The new paradigm (sorry for the buzzword) is simple really. Hire smart people you trust. Then let them go and be an extension of your marketing team. This is something larger organizations neglect while entrepreneurial and passionate companies continue to benefit from.

Should companies impose a policy telling team members not to travel with luggage tags, wear a company t-shirt outside of work or somehow be identifiable publicly as a team member? If you feel like you might need to institute such a policy, without question you have the wrong team. If you’re making such hires this is bigger than a marketing issue. Solve your HR problems before they lead to PR disasters.

At this point, hiring anyone for your company who is a jerk is a risk in a new and more potent way than it ever has been. Not internally, externally: because any of your team members could, intentionally or otherwise, devastate your reputation.

That’s the bad. The good? In all industries, there are people who, thanks to the web, have become important and trusted voices in their fields. From healthcare technology to human resources software to quick service restaurants I have seen examples in pretty much every industry. The common thread is simple: they are smart, creative, well-connected and have extremely positive intentions. They are so interested in their field, they share what they learn with others through social technologies. But it’s not about the technology, it’s about ideas they are interested in.

Build a team of these people and you will organically activate the social web for your brand. It has less to do with social media and more to do with the fact that these people are passionate. Their curiosity, motivation and community will all be activated for your brand as an organic byproduct of being on your team. If you are the right type of organization this type of relationship is extremely valuable in both directions.

At this juncture, should you really still hire people that aren’t irrationally committed to their craft? To do any less is to build a boring, faceless company staffed by people you can’t trust on their own.