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Where I work, we're making a pitch to unlock Twitter and Facebook for all employees. The impetus behind the pitch is to utilize employees as a resource that can help promote a story or guide the tone of a message we're trying to promote among their networks.
Resistance to this proposal is somewhat obvious. For managers, this is a potential discipline issue waiting to happen. Their concern is that employees would waste time checking their Twitter feeds and Facebook accounts. Although, objectively, the same concerns were once made about the internet, e-mail and phones at employees desks.
Can you help me collect the pros and cons of giving employees access to social media while at work. I'm curious to see if the collective brainpower here can come up with a few issues I had not considered.
Where I work, we encourage our employees to use social media to promote our business. The only issues we had was ensuring that everything else on their Facebook or Twitter account could not cause a negative impact on the company. Also, it was important that front line associates with no marketing knowledge start promoting the company and not be aware of the repercussions. So, marketing put together a Social Media Toolkit that give all 9,000 associates the ability to create Customer Advocates through social media. This toolkit give associates legally approved marketing material to post on their social media accounts. (If you look on my Facebook or Twitter, you will see some of these). Unfortunately, due to the personal nature of some people's social media accounts, there was a code of conduct policy we had to put in place to ensure proper representation of our brand. Some of the associates did not like that, and for that reason, they don't participate. On the positive side, I have personally received business from using the Social Media Club website, Facebook, and Twitter. The easiest way to persuade the higher ups is to show them the potential monetary benefits from a free source of word of mouth advertising.
Hope this helps.
Jon, I'm a little confused by what you're saying. It reads like employees aren't allowed to have social media accounts period unless they step in line with your companies policies.
Is that the case or are you saying that employees aren't allowed access to social media unless they keep in line with your policy? Otherwise, I'm not sure how your employer could police 9,000 employees.
The other question I have, if your company is providing employees a Social Media Toolkit that provides them with legally approved marking material to post to their accounts... isn't that astroturfing? Could this approach be interpreted as inauthentic if these posts aren't being written in the "voice" of the employee? Hence, antithetical to the purpose of social media?
Not criticizing. Just curious.
Fundamentally, phones get around blocked websites on desktops. And, as you point out, employees can waste time in lots of ways that don't involve FB and Twitter.
I know that local companies who are happy with their social media activity are 12 points ahead on having a policy/guidelines in place and 7 points ahead on internal collaboration, per this survey.
If you need more ammo, Google can provide. Point to Cluetrain as needed :)
Also, check out Boudreaux's policy library if you want to see structures that work elsewhere.
I think it comes down to this: would you rather define expectations and manage to them, or try (likely unsuccessfully) to suppress conversation going on already. Remember that +80% of word of mouth is still offline.
Hope that helps...
I don't know if I did a good job explaining it or not. Really the only "policing" that is done is if one employee is harassing or disrespecting another employee. Also, employees can use their social media accounts for whatever they want. Marketing provides some verbiage if the employee chooses to use it, but it is not required. The employees are responsible for ensuring that they are not providing misinformation, but it is not something we track unless there is a complaint from a customer.
In regards to the code of conduct policy, that is something that we have in place to protect the company. Views expressed on an associates personal social media site cannot negatively affect the company.