Rather than getting frustrated by the time employees spend on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, some forward-thinking companies are looking to leverage these activities to benefit their business.
Think about it: You’ve always encouraged your staff to promote your company’s products or services, and what better way to do this than by having employees spread the word through their far-reaching network of friends and colleagues?
Experts consider this the newest form of PR and marketing, as well as customer service. Now it’s possible for employees to hear about any complaints customers might have before you do, just by being connected online. When these complaints are promptly addressed, the people in your employees’ networks will hear about it and come away impressed by your responsiveness.
There are other benefits, too:
- If your company has numerous off-site locations, employees can stay connected with each other on Facebook and elsewhere.
- Social media can be a powerful recruiting tool. If you’re seeking to fill an important position, have employees get the word out. Chances are, their networks will turn up promising candidates.
- Connected employees may be the first to hear about competitors’ activities or other industry changes that affect the way you do business.
So, assuming you find value in letting employees spend time online, some policies should be set in place:
Company rules and guidelines regarding employees’ online activities should be clearly spelled out in advance. Everyone should understand what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate online behavior.
Make sure employees are sufficiently prepared to act as “brand ambassadors” on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. You don’t want the wrong information spreading through cyberspace.
The same goes for proper use of social media. Different employees will have different skill levels, so it’s in your interest to ensure that anyone participating in social media understand how it works.
Restricting or even eliminating access to social media makes little sense, especially given how many younger employees and managers have come to age as active online participants. Better to leverage their enthusiasm and ever-expanding social media networks to help get the word out about your company’s excellent products and sophisticated work environment.
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