I’m often asked about how companies and employees work together in “social networks”. There is a wide range from restrictive, to total trust. Some companies may still feel that social networks are not a place for their employees to be a voice for their business. I actually think that this approach is one that misses real opportunity for business. Employees can be ambassadors, envoys, supporters, promoters of business through their social networks. Moving from a constrained and restrictive policy driven approach, one moves to the other end of the scale where the business expectation is that employees will just “be smart”. By being smart they converse and participate in social networks by being polite, factual, friendly, neighbourly and helpful. An employee speaking about their employer, business, brand or not for profit in this context; can only help build a positive reputation for the business. I know that the folks at Molson Coors (former employer) have also adopted the use of Post Beyond . It is a wonderful platform that is based on encouraging employee advocacy for one’s business. A series of social posts are created to amplify through employee social networks. Employees are also encouraged to create their own posts. Now that’s progressive !
As employees and employers consider collaborating through social networks, I offer up these ten tips to help you generate corporate and community goodwill through these emerging channels.
Top 10 Social Media Tips for Employees
- Be aware of your association with your company in social networks. Is it evident ? Are you actually using your business in your profile…@AndyorAmyBusiness ?
State your role
- Identify yourself—if you and your employer have agreed that you are going to be an ambassador in social media, let people know your real relationship to the business. This will help establish what information you can share, within your knowledge and scope of your role in the business.
- If you are posting something that is not in the voice of, or on behalf of the company, let people know. It may not be necessary to state “opinions here are my own and not representative of my employer”…but that is essentially the context that you will want to establish. Remember, you may be seen as speaking for the company. Setting the record straight is important.
- Use good judgment and strive for accuracy and fact based information. Social networks often turn up the noise on debate and opinion. You are best to engage from a place of fact, rather than subjectivity and personal opinion. Detractors can shoot holes in opinion but it is difficult to dispute the facts.
- Obey the law. Don’t post any information or conduct any online activity that may violate applicable provincial or federal laws or regulations, including copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws. Make sure your brand folks or internal counsel are ok with the way you represent images or assets.
- Be sure that what you are posting is not commercially sensitive material. That new brand launch or organizational announcement in a few weeks is likely something that your communications team should lead. Hey…when it is public…they’d likely love to have you share it for them…when it is public.
- Respect your audience. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in your workplace. You should also show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as politics and religion. If you show respect, you will likely be shown respect in return.
Inform, Don’t attack
- Avoid personal attacks, online fights, and hostile personalities – there is simply nothing to be gained by entrenching with “trolls” on issues. Social ping pong has little added value on an issue, for either party.
- Add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective in your social posts. No doubt your business, community cause, or not for profit has some interesting news or information to share that is of value to your audience. Share it !
When to call support
- If your social engagement turns to something more “official”, involving members of the media, competition or industry affairs – you are likely best to quickly engage the official spokesperson in your business for a response. Keep your social networking light and lively and relevant to what you are truly confident and authorized to speak about.
I hope this helps ease the way for you and your employer to be more active in social networks. If you’d like to chat further about tips and thoughts feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @FergDevins or @DevinsNetwork. Cheers !