Many corporations want to use social media sites with employees but are too afraid. They may believe that it allows for too much freedom, that using social media at work is a waist of salaried time or that company sanctioned social media use might get abused. But employees want to use it and they are using it both for personal and professional use.
Corporate-based social media can help a company be more competitive and current in its thinking. It can promote their products and services in a cost-effective way, create internal communities of practice and facilitate knowledge transfer, enhance communications and feedback with customers and clients, and it can be used for hiring and recruiting. It can also highlight employee expertise. It has the potential to reach a huge audience, while at the same time, target a specialized group of customers or suppliers.
Employees can benefit by using company services to reach out to their work colleagues, clients and customers. They can begin to build their own online brand around their expertise.
Reduce the risks of inappropriate use and protect both the company and employees by taking an organized and proactive approach.
Start with creating an organization-wide social media strategy that involves the major social media sites (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube). You will need to involve your marketing and communications/public relations team for this.
Discover what messaging best meets your organizational needs and target them the to specific social media site that best suits the delivery of each message. Each social media site excels in a different method of communication; understanding that difference, the pros and cons of each, is key.
Next, you need a formal organization-wide policy that spells out why and how you want employees to use social media. Define what is acceptable use and provide examples. You will need your HR department along with other stakeholders (IT, Marketing, Corporate Communications, etc.).
Training is next. I’m a fan of eLearning to reach employees effectively and efficiently with the same message at the same time.
Create your training objectives around both the policy and the strategy. Be sure to explain the differences of each social media site along with some how-to’s and how each site suits different messages and information.
Provide examples, case studies, definitions and where to go for more help.
Clearly indentify responsibilities of employees when using social media and how information can easily identify them as employees of your company even if they don’t explicitly spell it out.
Focus on privacy issues and understand who owns the content posted on each site – the company, the employee or the social media site?Using social media wisely benefits everyone.