If employees’ inappropriate posts can be traced back to your company, they immediately become your problem, too.
(Image: iStock.com/Izabela Habur)
It’s early on a Monday morning, but your office is already buzzing. At first, this seems like a good thing—your employees are hitting the ground running to start off the week—but your excitement turns to dread when you overhear a conversation:
“Can you believe what Joe from sales tweeted yesterday?”
We’ve all cringed and laughed at articles about social media mishaps, and we’ve sworn that we’ll never be one of those people. But now, Joe from sales is one of those people, and because his Twitter bio says he works for your company, this is now your problem, too.
For the past several years, it’s been a goal of mine to help leaders prevent this from happening at their companies. A key ingredient to doing so is creating a social media policy—precautionary guidelines that help keep your brand from becoming the focal point of Monday morning’s gossip hour.
The goal isn’t to stifle your employees’ personal social media freedom. Rather, it’s to maintain consistent messaging and to limit your company’s chances of facing a public relations nightmare.
When creating your policy, here are five big things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t assume all of your employees understand social media. The majority of your employees—especially the younger ones—will have a fundamental knowledge of why social media exists, but don’t use that as an excuse to not spell it out for everyone. What one employee doesn’t know could always come back to bite you. Our company is built on the backbone of social media, so you’d expect that most everyone we hire is a social media expert. But even for us, it’s been important to provide education and training on the basics of social. Whether it’s a salesperson who wants to learn about social selling or an engineer who wants to improve his or her presence on LinkedIn, these are important things in today’s social environment, and we feel it’s critical to support our employees in those areas.
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Russ Fradin is a digital media industry veteran and an angel investor with more than 15 years of experience in online marketing. He is founder and CEO of Dynamic Signal, the leading platform for empowering employees to be effective brand advocates. Learn more here.
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