Leverage Employee Social Media Skills with Caution!

Social etiquette for small business employees


As a marketing/social media expert and the founder of a small business.  Like many of you, I need to build my brand and grow my business. I will be writing this blog to share tips that will help small businesses use social media to their advantage.

Social media can be used to create online presence, monitor brands and improve customer service.  Small companies like Zappos have found success leveraging Twitter and blogs.  Blendtec, a small blender company, grew exponentially based on their YouTube Will It Blend?  viral videos.
Organizations are also using social media to improve internal effectiveness.  They are locating hard to find candidates, improving communications and removing geographic barriers.
While there are benefits to having employees participate in social media, business leaders need to:
1.  Recognize and reinforce the positive role employees can play in shaping a company’’s online brand.
They can serve as brand ambassadors, help promulgate core values or promote new products.
2.  Communicate to employees what is expected of them, and how they should engage in social media.
If employees are not aware of what the company brand stands for, they might inadvertently hurt the brand or alienate current and future customers.
3.  Understand how social media can be misused by employees and develop the appropriate social media guidelines and policies.
Remember the policeman in Albuquerque who listed his job on Facebook as “human waste disposal,” the teacher in Philadelphia who blogged about her students that “They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners,” or the waitress who wrote negative comments about her customers on Facebook. In each of these cases no social media policies were in place and there was great embarrassment over these employee actions.
4.  Train employees and managers on what the guidelines mean and the specific actions they should take or not take.
5.  Implement and monitor.  Reward those who comply and punish those that don’’t.
6.  A key lesson companies have learned is that one size does not fits all. 
Social media guidelines need to reflect the industry one is in, the organizational culture, the existing structure and the needs of multiple stakeholders.  They cannot simply be developed by an isolated committee with good intentions.  Like all change, there will be resistance, so getting those that are impacted engaged in the development process is critical.

Next- If you are writing a company social media policy…


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