Social Media: three ideas for employees and companies

Social media is now ubiquitous from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more esoteric apps and websites. What is interesting is that we still see those things as something that very strictly falls within our private sphere, something for each individuals to decide how and they use.

Despite this not a month goes by without an example of the power of a viral campaign in some form or other to make headlines. These can be powerful and can be used to sell, or highlight brand, get a project off the ground or simply communicate an idea or need. I suggest then that as both individuals and organisations we need to get smarter at how we think of social media.

For employees:

  1. Be aware that your personal brand is important and you need to cultivate that online brand. Whether it’s your Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile, Twitter page or other social media forum assume it is for public consumption (whatever your social media privacy settings say) and remember even not having an account will say something about you!
  2. Use each job you have as an opportunity to cultivate digital contacts both internally in your organisation but also externally leveraging the brand of the organisation you are working for. Beware of the limits on the latitude that the organisation you are working for gives you; if not aware ask for clear guidance.
  3. Be aware of how organisations your connected to describe you, especially if you are mentioned on external publications like a website; make sure that aligns with the image that you want to present.

For companies:

  1. It is very difficult to control your brand. For some this manifests itself in fear, they make it a condition of employment or volunteering not to talk about their work and limit what they can mention in a personal profile. Other organisations though are beginning to embrace and cultivate their employees and volunteers recognising that in a crowded digital marketplace every person is potential ambassador for their brand.
  2. It is important to give training and a cohesive strategy to those who work with you. Whatever approach you use, you need to make sure employees understand what they can and cannot do. While once upon a time it would usually only be senior management who need training on media handling it now needs to be ingrained at every level of the organisation.
  3. Remember that your relationships are not just with individuals but also with other companies and groups of people. Have a clear expectation on what that means if you are working on shared projects; understand if there is divergent approach to use of social media. For instance if one group of people on a project is used to being very open where as another is not this can cause substantial confusion.

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