IBM – Using social media from sales to guidelines

madisonfox    December 4, 2017

IBM has always stayed ahead of the game. As one of the world’s biggest technological companies, they were forecasting the rise of social media and immediately jumped on the opportunity.  Back in 2007, they foresaw how much of an impact social media was having on the world. They launched Lotus Connections, a product that combined five social networking applications into one package. Since it was aimed at the corporate social and collaborative environment, the apps focused around tools that allowed workers to communicate with each other via blogs, profiles, and common community areas. This was the start of an enterprise-wide integration and employees would have access for more information to collaborate with. IBM LotusLive has become IBM SmartCloud for Social Business. It’s used for business grade file sharing, social networking, communities, online meetings, instant messaging, email and calendar. There is also a productivity center that employees can edit documents in real time. Keeping employees involved has helped with successful organizational strategy.

Aside from the SmartCloud, IBM decided to take their sales to the social world.  IBM created an internal online hub that allowed employees to easily share promotions on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, while they could also share internally to help each other with marketing and sales. The enterprise-integrated social media strategy, increased the speed of employee communication and created a cross-functional collaboration to improve performance and day to day operational activity.

Some Social Media Numbers:

  • IBM has 20,000 blogs and in 2005, a set of IBM employees – using wiki created the first set of guidelines for their colleagues who wanted to blog.
  • They have more that 203,300 activities designed to make it easier for IBMers and their teams to organize their work and plan their efforts
  • There are 475,000 file shares
  • IBM has 50,000 wikis, another way to enable employees to easily collaborate
  • Every month, there are 30 million meeting minutes for LotusLive Meetings at IBM
  • IBMers also leverage Facebook. There are 198,000 current employees on Facebook.

In addition to integrated social media strategy, a lean approach is used on each social channel. The social channels are used to promote and market IBM, but each channel is targeted to serve an organizational need. The company’s main twitter account is used for product development and research. “Their main twitter account has over 156,000 followers and keeps customers up to date on new product launches, software updates, and studies (Huff, T. (2015, January 19).”

When it comes to Instagram, the company uses the platform to engage customers by posting stunning images, and to market their corporate culture and offices from around the world. “Visitors to the site are often encouraged to caption photos or leave a comment for employees (Huff, T. (2015, January). ” It gives customers the opportunity to engage with the company and take a sneak peak what life at IBM is like. They also have a large Facebook presence that keeps customers update on general news and information about the company.

Lastly, when it comes to organizational strategy, IBM has been able to adapt quickly to the forever changing technology. Each social account is run and managed by a small team of individuals. The entire team is required to follow the company’s strict Social Computing Guidelines. “The guidelines are updated periodically as the social networking landscape changes to make sure activity across all channels is the best it can be (Huff, T. (2015, January 1)”. The company wants to make sure that all channels are following the corporate vision to provide the company with a competitive advantage.

Lessons for Others


In conclusion, IBM has used technology and social media throughout the company to promote a whole enterprise. Having an integrated social media strategy, allowed employees to interact and collaborate with each other to increase and improve employee performance while creating effective day-to-day operational activity. The designated social channel for organizational needs, helps organize and manage each purpose of each channel. Also, having the Social Computing Guidelines helps IBM stay on top on forever changing social network landscape.

Organization: IBM
Industry: Technology
Name of Organization Contact: N/A

Authored by: Madison Fox

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


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