This past weekend’s top movie was The Social Network, chronicling the creation and litigation surrounding one of the most visited websites in the world – Facebook. Facebook is the poster child for social media, a realm that many businesses have difficulty fully understanding and seeing value in.
Organizations interested in dipping their toe into social media should begin by conducting a social media audit. Simply go out and look for employees who are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. When you look at it quantitatively, your organization will undoubtedly have a presence.
Next, I would suggest looking at what information – publicly available – on these sites is published. Are employees listing the company they work for on their profile? Are those same profiles something you would be comfortable having clients see? Do LinkedIn profiles note that employees are interested in “career opportunities?”
It is important to be aware on a global level of any place that mentions your company name, which is your brand. I do not advocate squelching an employee’s freedom of speech. What is critical is providing education to employees on what social networking privacy options are available. Most people are unaware of the amount of personal and professional data they are publishing. Educating employees also lets them know that you are aware of what they are publicly doing on these properties.
The other part critical role for employers is to be proactive and stake out property in this realm. Create a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a LinkedIn company profile. This is a low-cost way to show your tech savvy employees and future employees that your organization embraces technology. Work with your marketing department and consultants to define your properties and repackage content you are already creating into posts and tweets.
There is real value in understanding and embracing social media. At bare minimum, it is critical that HR and marketing departments be aware of how the organization is being represented. I guarantee that your company is already on social media. Take the time to craft a detailed strategy so you can be positioned to take advantage of these networks’ reach and business potential.
– Michael Bond