Few could have predicted how quickly social media would change the marketing landscape. Therefore, it’s not surprising that companies are struggling to catch up when it comes to policies that cover employee use of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Companies that have used social media most effectively have allowed their employees to use their accounts to establish more personal connections with prospective clients. Often, this means allowing employees to use personal accounts to promote the business, as opposed to just using branded accounts. It’s an effective strategy because it offers more face-to-face (albeit virtual) interaction and organic conversation about your business than any marketing campaign ever could.
The forward thinkers in the marketing world have been willing to cede more control to their employees in order to tell a more compelling story to prospects. As with any new strategy, there will be some growing pains.
That question has led some companies to wind up in court with former employees, as detailed in this CMO Site piece by Keith Dawson. As stated by Dawson, a company’s objective should be to clarify the terms of your employees’ social media use before such an issue ever arises.
A social media policy need not be restrictive, as that would eliminate many of the advantages of your employees utilizing the medium as part of their selling process. But deciding whether control of employees’ accounts belong to the employee or the company ahead of time is key in avoiding headaches down the line. Employers may decide that employee accounts would have value even after an employee leaves. In that case, put it in writing – you can find an example of Dell’s policy in Dawson’s piece.
But it’s also important to note that most social media accounts are only as valuable as the person running them. While a social media policy can prevent a legal problem down the road, finding employees who can effectively use social media in the selling process is just one way your sales team can “Know More!” about prospects and clients.