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Employees: The Buzz Starts Here

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

By Jonathan Paisner

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What is a fan worth? Or a "like" or a Digg or a follower? Does it matter? These are viable and interesting questions, for sure -- but are we losing sight of the forest in the process?

The impact of third-party voices on a brand's reputation has never been greater. Our brand valuation data tells us this. And we've all used the online opinions of strangers to guide purchase decisions. We live in a social world -- no news here.

Marketers continue to debate how best to track and measure social media within the marketing mix. Meanwhile, here's the answer for maximizing social media impact: Deliver on the promise of your brand. Everyday. With every interaction. Throughout every product. In every service or support engagement. And make sure that every employee understands his or her role in building and maintaining the strength of your brand.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

The rationale for having a brand that inspires, excites and guides your employees has never been stronger. And it is up to you provide the tools and the training and the passion. Every employee can drive a brand positive experience -- whatever their role. Employees are your most potent assets in a social world.

Every employee can drive a positive brand experience.

All too often, unfortunately, it's the damning employee activities that go viral. The FedEx delivery guy chucking the TV over the fence. United breaking guitars. The Comcast technician falling asleep. If employees were empowered by the promise of their brands, each of these episodes could have turned out very differently (and may never have even happened in the first place).

Occasionally the "good" stories go viral, but they usually don't pack the same entertainment punch as those noted above. Plus, the most effective ones are more of the quiet, everyday variety. There are some viral-friendly stories, like this one from Peter Shankman about Morton's. Peter landed at Newark airport to find a Morton's steak dinner awaiting his arrival after sending a random, wishful tweet before takeoff just two hours prior. Someone at Morton's had the wherewithal to seize the opportunity to create a "surprise and delight" moment that just happened to be with a particularly vocal thought leader.

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