Wired ran an article on the only way to win at corporate social media: actively engaging your employees. The point being that people want to talk about what they do, who they work for and why it is a good thing. Giving employees an opening to do that leads to great results. Will there be screw-ups along the way? Of course, but having a large conversation going drowns out the stupid things that come up.
Engagement is also important between employees and clients. An engaged client is often going to be happier and more profitable. They know what they are getting, why they are getting it and the value of the relationship. They are less likely to try and negotiate every single interaction. This level of engagement comes from the same place as social media engagement by employees – employees who have been setup and positioned to have unscripted conversations knowing that their employer has their back.
As Wired points out, one of the keys to all of this is setting guidelines. As long as I know the types of things I’ll get in trouble for saying (cursing in front of the client or just generally trying to undermine the organization usually) I can go in and tell them why they should get or grow a relationship.