Christen Wegner is a former journalist turned resident Gen Yer on the communications team at Intuit. When not on Twitter, she is usually texting, on Facebook, or writing for various blogs like Small Business United and TurboTax.

One of the hottest topics for any business, from the small to the large is social. So my first thought when Kyle Lacy sent me a tweet asking me to write a guest blog post I was like “Oh cool, Intuit is doing so much, yay, let’s share.”

So I started collecting info regarding all out campaigns, events, and information and started sharing that with friends and family. But what floored me was what I would find out after talking with a couple former coworkers. Companies are actually still banning their employees from social media – things like Facebook, Twitter, and gasp, personal blogs.

I guess I live in a little bubble and take for granted the fact that at Intuit, we are trusted that we will do what is right as THE voice of Intuit on social channels. And without those social channels there is no way Intuit could have done anything fun, interesting or relevant to what small businesses want and need.

One of those conversations was with a former colleague who told me her company has just blocked Facebook and MySpace from their computers stating employees were “wasting too much time on the social networks.” Of course, her IT department didn’t account for the mobile applications and now employees are frequently seen gripping their Blackberry’s and iPhones.

Thriving with social

When I joined Intuit, social media wasn’t new but it was this undiscovered territory. We were trying to find the right balance between keeping our employees happy and keeping them productive. Happily three years later I can sit here, write this article, have TweetDeck running in the background, and occasionally check out Facebook.

In fact, Intuit encourages employees to do just that. We have employees who train customer service reps, engineers and developers how to start interacting in such social channels. On our Intuit Community dozens of different employees interact every day answering questions, solving problems and simply act as a sounding board for our customers. And what is even better is the Community is where customers go to talk to other customers as well.

And our Small Business team was one of the first teams at Intuit on Twitter. Today we have more than 50 teams and individuals out there. What they learned early on meant a change in strategy for Intuit and insights into how we can help small businesses succeed.

Much of that success led to a desire for other social networking events like town halls, small business events, and a blog where regular experts discuss their tips and tricks ( All of this to help small businesses succeed in business and thrive in the social realm.

Over the last eight months we have managed the Love a Local Business Campaign in which Intuit is putting small businesses on the map. The idea is that fans, including customers, vendors, employees, and the community, determine what small businesses deserve some love with winners receiving small business grants.

That’s right, free money for doing what these small business do every day – take care of their customers and being social.

A big part of our strategy reflects a changing world where people and businesses are increasingly connected. We want to arm all small businesses and employees with tools , ways to listen, and create strong customer engagement as one small business community.

I don’t think any of this could have been done without access to our social channels. So thanks Intuit for letting me and my team stay relevant. And the hope is that our work helps small businesses stay relevant as well.

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