For all of us experienced in social media with the concepts of sharing and open dialog deeply rooted in our ethos, this comparison probably doesn’t mean as much as it could for folks who don’t engage in social computing.  I’m simply looking for ways we can all help explain some of these concepts to our overworked managers and VPs.

(Heh, ‘social computing’.  That’s a nod to the corporate interpretation of social media – or it is in some ways.  Mostly they like to say “collaboration” because its more professional sounding.  I find it interesting that the moment the word ‘social’ is dropped, the reaction tends to be “we don’t pay people to socialize!”.  Never mind that work itself is an accepted social construct designed to make labor for wage a palatable and productive arrangement. But I digress.)

Anyway, sometimes the easiest way to help people understand a concept is to compare it to something they already know or can intuitively envision.  That’s where the Goodwill Ambassador comes in.  In the social media sphere, we’ve developed the Community Manager (a role which perversely doesn’t “manage” anything) who is tasked with engaging customers.  Nither the community or the conversations within require management of any sort.  Rather they require participation.  That participation has several aspects, ones that are quite familiar to people from any generation.

A goodwill ambassador brings a smile and cheer, they answer questions and facilitate getting answers.  They often bring a sense of calm and reason, that you’ll be heard and understood.  The concept of a goodwill ambassador is easy to digest and brings folks initially apposed to funding such a role as Community Manager around to a realistic perspective and frame of reference.  For today, we have a need of these people who bridge the gaps between marketing and customer service, bringing personality and a voice to the organizations they represent.

Are you ready to share some goodwill with your customers?

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