We own that post. Employers and social media.
Oh boy this is gonna be a good one! ‘Cause no one knows what they are doing!
Social media kind of just went splat on our windows and everyone is trying to figure out what to do with it. It gets really complicated when you mix employers with employees and a level of communication that makes things really transparent. And social media negatively or positively affects your personal brand and your company brand. And you have little control over certain aspects of social media. Uh oh.
So what to do?
Employers listen up. You need to establish social media guidelines as company policy. Think common sense. Don’t think George Orwell. I’ve seen some really heavy-handed policies and some really unrealistic expectations of your employees.
It’s OK to tell employees they cannot trash the company, clients, staff, etc. on social media. You have your business to protect and are allowed to do it. No divulging of trade secrets and any confidential information. Be respectful. Be judicious. Common sense stuff. Fine.
It’s not OK to dictate to them what they can post unless it has to do with your company. For example, an employee’s LinkedIn profile is their profile. Don’t tell them what to put on their profile about your company. You can provide suggestions, or marketing-speak to help them represent you well, but they own their profile. They don’t have to do what you say. It’s about them, not you. Unless of course, they are managing your Company’s page or a Group if you have one. Then they are acting as an agent of your firm on social media and you can have more control over that. Telling employees that they have to follow a company-crafted description of the company in their profile is heavy-handed and not fair.
Facebook. Don’t go there. Unless it’s your company’s FB page. Do not friend your employees. Or if you do, don’t follow their feeds. This may sound harsh, but think about it. You see a post from an employee to another employee that seems inappropriate. Maybe harassment. What do you do? You can’t ignore it. You have to address it as if it happened in the office right in front of you. It is best to not expose yourself to this stuff in the first place. Not acting could mean that you condone the behavior.
Is the mobile device that your employee uses for personal social media something you provided them in their job? If so, you own the messages sent through that device. Their work computer is an obvious but people don’t always think of their mobile devices as company property. Twitter posts and Facebook posts done through those devices are under stricter rules than messages sent on personal computers. Hmmm, that poses some issues for both the employer and the….
Employee. Next up: How employees should manage their social media profiles and posts as it relates to their professional brand and their job.