Having employees contribute to your social media profiles can help you expand your outreach, increase your followers, and attract new employees through the positive engagement of your current workforce.
However, this contribution can backfire if you do not have policies and training in place that guide how your employees participate on your pages. SmallBusiness.Chron.com suggests, "A proactive approach to starting official company accounts and managing the content helps you maintain a positive online presence." Consider these tips before letting employees loose on your social accounts.
Company Accounts: Limit Access
Someone in your business has been given the responsibility of updating and maintaining your social media accounts. They have the passwords, best times to post, etc. But, are they the only ones who have access?
- Make sure that your passwords are held only by the person in charge of the social media accounts and are changed regularly -- especially if someone with access is quitting or being fired.
- British retailer HMV made the mistake of firing their social media manager without revoking that employee's access to their social media. The resulting Twitter firestorm generated by said former employee alienated the company and damaged their online reputation (Forbes).
Personal Accounts: Create a Policy
Whether or not you ask employees to engage directly with your company's social pages, they may include their work details in their personal profiles and, by extension, are going to represent your company online.
By creating a social media policy for your employees, you can set out guidelines for how they should behave online when representing your company. This policy lets employees know that the Employee Code of Conduct applies to online conduct as well as in-person.
- Be aware that there are laws in place that limit the extent of your company's social media policy. You cannot require employees or applicants to provide you with their account passwords. You cannot punish employees for venting about work on their personal accounts. You can, however, take measures against offensive or threatening behavior (National Labor Relations Board).
- The Hatch Act, Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and other federal laws protect employees and applicants from being discriminated against by their employer based on information found in social media profiles.
In addition to creating an online code of conduct, provide your employees with training on how employees can engage with your business's social media pages.
Related: Get social media certificates or training for your employees
Giving them important stats and information can show how using social media is a valuable business tool which can increase their performance and productivity.
- Use the training to explain why social media engagement is important for the company from a marketing, sales, and customer service perspective. Give examples of the value it brings to the company in terms of return on investment. Explain search engine optimization (SEO), brand awareness, and the leads that can be generated simply by having employees active on Twitter, Facebook, and the social media sphere.
- For example: Twitter is the second largest driver of visits to company web pages (at 32%). Sales leads generated by Twitter had a conversion rate of 2.17% - a rate that was 6% greater than referral traffic, 10% greater than paid search, and 50% greater than organic search (Optify).
Employee contributions to your social pages -- their comments, likes, and shares -- can help expose your company to new customers and potential job applicants; it promotes engagement between your employees, your followers, and your company. Educate your employees on how to make their online contributions positive and effective. Assign several trusted employees to moderate your social media accounts and confirm that your employees' posts are appropriate, engaging, and genuine.