Have you heard about the employee in Maryland who was fired from the school district for a tweet?
If you haven’t, here’s the quick 411: a student tweeted the official school district account asking them to cancel school the next day – but with a misspelling. The social media manager in control of the official account responded back cleverly and corrected the misspelling. The employee was fired for her response, despite the fact that it didn’t violate any laws or rules. There are naturally two-sides to every story (plus screenshots) but opinions aside, here are some key facts:
The school district didn’t have a social media guideline available to the social media manager.
The school didn’t have social media training available.
No one communicated expectations, goals or even direction on social media, to the social media manager.
Here is the problem:
While we can appreciate the pace with which things move, an organizations desire to stay on top of social media so they’re not left behind, it’s still important to identify goals and expectations. When you do not have these things in place not only will the organization be left in a vulnerable position, but also those employees operating in a social media management capacity.
Here’s an easy way to set your employees up for success (whether you’re government, not for profit, corporate) – (1) develop a social media guideline and (2) offer social media training.
Think about it this way: when we hire people for specific jobs like a plumber, electrician or even a teacher, we have a very specific job description, with goals and expectations clearly outlined. What’s the difference between them and a social media manager? The social media manager is an extension of your brand, your business and your organization. These are the people with whom you need to give direction to – express your goals and discuss how you’re going to reach them using social media. Discuss crisis situations and gray areas so they know what the process is if they ever find himself in a situation where they’re not sure how to appropriately respond online. This will not only cover their behind, but yours too!