While social media was not directly mentioned in the topline findings of the recent Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship (BCCCC) report, “Leading Across the Organization: Profile of the Professionals 2013,” one glance at the executive summary does suggest a big social media opportunity. There is perhaps no more effective way than through social channels to build relationships and influence others, and those are among the top most important skills listed by the surveyed corporate citizenship professionals. As well, the majority of respondents reported spending a significant amount of time on communication and community/social investment activities.  Social media can only make that time more far-reaching and productive.

Now remember, the emphasis on relationship building, influence leveraging and general communications tools is not a PR play but is self-reported by the professionals in the BCCCC study. These are the facts, Jack, and they are worth consideration.

So, what does this mean for a company in the process of developing or recruiting corporate citizenship professionals?

1)    Some familiarity with, and hopefully a passion for, using a social channel or two, should be a job requirement.

2)    The company’s commitment to an investment in supporting a social culture should be firm and clear (for both internal and external stakeholders).

3)    Social media capacity issues (like time and the staff to manage it) should be addressed by shuffling or retiring other, perhaps outdated, communications tools.

4)    Content, in its many forms –and whether created or curated by the corporate citizenship leader – is part and parcel of any social strategy. A Facebook page or Twitter stream cannot engage, build trust and communicate without it.  In fact, [email protected] just published a great piece in Fast Company, Is Content the New Currency?. that more than makes that case  – not the least of which is this: that content “buys” earned trust.

Doing the above will help you find, keep and support your future leadership. Make sure social media is something your corporate citizenship pros know.