Since then many companies have faced problems caused by social media from unfortunate messages posted on branded channels to potential loss of revenue due to Facebook usage and we all learned the word: "Damage Control".
One of the lessons learned was to create corporate guidelines for social media to help employees behave correctly in social media channels. An important lesson as a single negative comment in the social sphere can cost 30 customers.
The issue of employees using corporate social media channels badly/wrongly has been addressed... but what about the other way around? How do you support employees who want to use their own social media profiles to bring a positive view on your organisation?
With social media all your employees are potentially sales staffIf you notice one of your employees in a bar talking loudly and favourably about your products I am sure you would step out of the way to give her credit for this and make sure she knows about all the company's other great products for future reference.
But how do you support those employees who uses their own social networks to promote your products online? Are you even aware they are doing this?
Imagine creating a marketing strategy that involves traditional marketing, digital marketing, maybe even social marketing. Then add an internal communication initiative with guides to how your employee can help support the campaign:
- Align marketing messages but keep individual tone of voice.
- Access to exclusive content/leaked information.
- Allow them to share discount codes and see them go viral.
- Engage them in gamification elements and let them "play" with your customers.
I've heard people say "because of social media we all work in PR no matter our job role" which in itself is valuable. But aligning brand messages and educating your staff how to take any interest in your products further can bring real revenue through real sales opportunities.
And remember...Employees must feel comfortable using their own personal social networks to promote your services. They have to fully believe in the products as they personally vouch for everything they post to their friends.
Recognising the employees who do voluntarily promote your products is important. They are putting their personal profile on the line doing the company a favour. But avoid alienating those employees who do not feel inclined to do so, whether they do not want to use their own social connections or simply do not use social media.
Above all, do not have a written or unwritten requirement that employees must use the own social networks to promote the services of your company. Our social networks are part of the fine eco-systems that are our lives and deserves respect.