By Matt Cook
The following is part 3 of 5 in our series about social media mistakes. To refresh yourself on the previous topics, see these links:
It should be noted that your personal social media efforts should be separated by a giant Jurassic Park-style electric fence from your business social media efforts. Now, that is not to say that you shouldn’t be joining your own company Facebook group (wouldn’t that defeat the purpose?), but it’s important to know that if you are going to pursue any type of social media that involves your business and your employees that there should be some well established ground rules laid first.
The last thing you want as a business owner is to have your employees posting things on your company Facebook page like:
“Hey Brian, you got totally wrecked at the company staff party last weekend. Remember when you made out with that lamp post? That was great rofl. Here’s 38 photos of you dancing the Macarena in your underwear. You’re such a COOL boss lol!”
Your employees can have a huge impact on your reputation with your customers and how the world sees your business. Depending how involved your company is with social media, you may want to implement a company policy outlining what can and should be posted about the company and what is off limits.
The thing with social media is that it encourages a “say it first, think later” mentality. On one hand you often get to see what people are really thinking – on the other hand you also see a lot of things on Facebook such as:
“ARG! My boss is such an idiot! He wouldn’t even give me three months off to pursue my dream of becoming a traveling acrobat! I hate my job!”
They post things like this of course without realizing that they added their boss as a friend 2 weeks prior and he’s been able to see everything you’ve said about them and your business. Although you can’t control what your employees do with their personal time or personal accounts, this simply reinforces the need to outline what is acceptable for your company when it comes to social media.
Another precautionary step is to take the time to train your employees on social media and to inform them of the company goals with it, especially if your staff will be actively involved. Just because the kid you hired to tidy up the warehouse on weekends has 10,000 MySpace friends, it doesn’t necessarily qualify him to run your company Twitter account. Make sure that the employees that are front and center are well trained and knowledgeable in being the face of your business. At the same time, keep in mind that time is money – and while signing up for these accounts may not cost you a dime, paying a staff member to keep up on the work does. Even though your Facebook group may not measure out to physical dollars and cents, you should always have a budget in mind to prepare yourself for it.
In part 4 of this series we’ll study the effects of ignoring your metrics.