Like Me? Follow Me.
It's become such a big issue that many businesses have been forced to ban the use of social media during work hours, and feel the need to monitor employee's accounts outside of them.
But what happens when, as a business, you want your employees on social media? Perhaps you're a recruitment consultant, and you're encouraging your employees to create LinkedIn accounts in order to make connections with new clients and job seekers?
Or perhaps you're a charity with a Facebook fan page, and you'd like all your employees to 'Like' your page, bulking up your internet community and distributing your content online?
I-COM happens to be the kind of business that encourages its employees to set up social media accounts; it's important that, as a business, we have a strong online presence, and our employees' social media accounts are one way of improving that presence.
However, we make sure we follow a few simple rules to avoid the pitfalls so often experienced when employees' social media accounts come into contact with their working lives:
- Keep your working life and social life separate: if you're going to ask your employees to 'Like' and distribute your content online, ask them to set up work-specific social media accounts. This ensures your content doesn't come into contact with any of their social activities (do you want your latest business event popping up on someone's wall next to pictures of drunken debauchery?). It's better for them, and it's better for your business.
- Make sure your employees are aware of your company's branding: if your employees are going to be acting as online ambassadors for your company, make sure they're fully aware of how you want your business to be portrayed. Give them some brand guidelines to follow, and make sure they stick to them.
- Trust your employees, but don't neglect them: by asking your employees to promote your brand online via social media, you're placing a certain amount of trust in them; you're trusting them to do the right thing for your business, and to give your brand a positive image online. Just make sure you don't neglect them - check in periodically on how their social media activity is going, and act on their recommendations.
- Make sure they have plenty of quality content to distribute: if your employees are going to promote your brand using social media, they're going to need content - at the very least a regularly updated blog and online press releases. Think video, photos, online competitions, polls, even mini-games.
Encouraging your employees to use social media to promote your brand online can be hugely rewarding, improving your brand profile, expanding your potential customer base and improving your website's ranking - just make sure you lay down a few ground rules at the start in order to avoid a social media catastrophe.