With online conversation now a way of life, it is very important to monitor the information that is being said about your company. You cannot always control the external voices online, but you can (and should) control the voices coming from your organization.
The best way to control your company’s brand online is not necessarily to block Facebook and Twitter, instead it is to set guidelines that your employees need to follow as a part of their contract. I want to cover some basic steps to creating and implementing a company-wide social media policy.
1) Don’t Do It Alone
Your company brings consultants in for many different reasons, whether it is for leadership training or teamwork exercises. With social media now playing a major role in the way that companies connect with their employees and customers, it is very clear that you should be bringing in a consultant to work with you on your policy, and to work directly with the employees so that they have an understanding of what the company is trying to achieve.
2) Limits Are Good, But Encourage Conversation
Some companies think that in order to control social media they can block social networking sites at work… WRONG! For starters every one of your employees goes home to a computer and then needs to get all of their Facebook and Twitter hours out during the night. During this time they very well may be complaining about how they can’t use these sites at work, and their company is left out of real time news because of it. The solution to this is to allow your employees to use social media, but bring someone in to tell them the correct way to use it, emphasizing the limits they have to follow in terms of talking about work (whether they are there or not).
3) Align Your Social Media Marketing Plan With Employee Usage
As with most things, this is a give and take situation. If you give your employees the opportunity to stay connected while at work, make sure that they are benefiting the company while they spend time online. This can be approached in many ways, whether it is through the set up and coordination of a blog team, admin rights to a Facebook page, or access to the company Twitter account. A short training session will prepare your employees to handle these responsibilities, and will give them the opportunity to contribute to the company as a whole, giving them the credit they deserve.
These are just a few ways that your company can handle the social media situation that is now present in companies all over. Some people think that this is still a risk, and they would rather avoid it completely. Those companies will not be considered forward thinking organizations by the outside world, and their position on social media will eventually hurt their brand.
It is an ideal time to get your company involved online, if you aren’t already. If you are, it is an ideal time to make sure you are doing it right. Take advantage of this opportunity and don’t stray from it, or you will be left behind.