Unless you block access to every social media site ever created, it’s going to be pretty impossible to keep your employees from signing in to their favorite sites at work; and new studies are suggesting that you shouldn’t deter them from using it either. Of course, you don’t want tweeting with friends and playing Farmville to take precedence over their main responsibilities, but your employees just might be the best brand ambassador’s you never hired. Besides customer relationship management, employees can help you update the public about company news, new product launches, and customer appreciation events.
If you’re concerned about how employees use social media during work hours or worried that your proprietary secrets might get leaked on YouTube here are a couple of strategies you can implement to make sure your employees are using these tools to uplift your brand and not drag it through the mud:
• Give them permission to use social media. Unless you block certain websites, your employees aer probably going to sneak and use it anyway. Keep in mind that higher performing organizations are more likely to encourage the use of these tools than lower performers, according to a report by the American Society for Training & Development commissioned from the Institute for Corporate Productivity. But don’t force them to use it unless it is a critical function of their job, and don’t tell them what to say, either. Employees want to feel like you trust them. Allow them to use their own voice. It will sound more organic to their friends if they discuss their excitement about a product launch that they worked on rather than simply post a press release you created.
• Provide clarity. Make clear to them what is appropriate and what is inappropriate to talk about as it concerns the company. Sixty percent of the companies that responded to an annual survey conducted by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute said they had some social media policy in place. You don’t want employees discussing proprietary secrets with your competition, but you do want them to share the company’s landmark achievements or reply positively to complaints or praise from your customers, who might be their friends. The policy should define the goals and purposes of using social media in the organization’s day-to-day business, states the i4cp.
• Teach them how to avoid malware. Tell your employees to be careful opening links on Facebook or Twitter when they are at work. Spammers are getting in the habit of posting malicious links that can lead to viruses. The last thing you need is several broken computers that need costly repairs. Tell them not to open links from friends they do not know. Also, make sure that computers in your office have browsers that are updated with the most recent anti-virus software.
• Track them. That might sound creepy, but if you have employees on social media then you need to know what they are saying about your company. Use software as a service (SaaS) solutions, like Social Sentry by Teneros for example, which will track every “public” word written about your company by your employees on social media. Social Sentry will also measure how much time employees are spending on social media during work hours. Some companies will even archive an employee’s entire social media history in case the posts can be used as evidence in a lawsuit. Also try SocialWare Sync, which for $9.99 per month will along with archiving make sure that your digital presence stays compliant with regulatory agencies in your industry.
So, let us know. Are your employees a part of your social media strategy?
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