Social Media is an amazing tool that has saved lives and caused inspiring revolutions across the globe. It has done wonders for businesses but, not surprisingly, it has also caused some problems for companies whose employees misrepresent the company. While many companies are afraid of their employees using social media as a means to hurt the company, they may be missing out on an opportunity to utilize their employees through social networking. It’s possible, according to Cheryl and Mark Burgess, authors of The Social Employee: How Great Companies Make Social Media Work, that these employees may offer a great opportunity to capitalize social networking and bolster brand image.
It’s well known that a prank filmed at a Dominoes pizza restaurant, the video being published on Youtube, drew in millions of viewers and resulted in bad publicity for Dominoes. Cheryl and Mark would argue that incidents like these are precisely why companies should “go social”, educating their employees and conducting conversations on the manner at hand, even allowing the employees to represent the company. If employees can better understand the whole picture, better see its benefits and values, they are more likely to act responsibly. Following the lead of IBM, a leader in developing social guidelines, is a smart way to figure out what kind of guidelines you would like to set for your company.
Know that mistakes will occur but each one is a learning experience. It may not be immediately that you return a profit. Odds are you will have to work your way up and begin to build an online credibility, a collection of followers, before you can see results. Be sure that the top executives are following these guidelines, leading the way as role models for their employees, and as a result sharpening employee’s perspective of social networking and how it benefits the company.