But a common concern they share is this: how do we control what happens with our brand online?
The reality is that you have very little control over what happens online. What you can control are the resources & education you provide for anyone operating on your company’s behalf online (and even those who aren’t.)
You’re never too small to have brand guidelines. This can be as simple as saying: here’s our promise to our customers and how we want to communicate it. Some companies include the tone of communication and will get down to the nitty-gritty of fonts & colours. In fact, I’ve seen brand guidelines that would take a lifetime to thoroughly read through.
That’s why it’s important to have Social Media/Marketing Orientation Training available to both employees working directly on the brand, as well as indirectly. Employees are generally slammed with a lot of work. Handing them a guideline that may not directly affect them has little chance of being read & understood. So what’s the point of even having them if they’ll just be ignored?
The reason I believe training is important is because it helps to CYA. I literally cannot tell you how many times I’ve had HR folks ask me how to handle a situation where an employee has said something less than favourable about the company online. Or that they’ve said or done something online that doesn’t align with the company’s values. Making training available to all employees may not eliminate these situations, but it will certainly cut down on them.
Also – when your employees understand what you’re trying to do and how you’re trying to do it, they’re more likely to help. In a past life, I was brought into a company where the general consensus among employees was that they didn’t understand how the companies goals fit with social media. They weren’t made aware of the company’s ‘big picture’ vision for the future. However when we discussed these things, as well as competition and where the company wanted to be, they got it and most became social ambassadors for the company.
How does that happen?
It means setting employees up for success with resources, expectations, best practices and intel. Do you want to share critical information via social? Tell your employees why and how you want to do it. Tell them your goals. There will be employees who may not understand the blurring of lines between their personal life online and professional – help them before an issue ensues.
I’ve hosted countless corporate training sessions with groups of varying industry backgrounds, ages, education and let me tell you: unless you’re clear with employees on the connection between social media & your business, they won’t typically understand (or care). You want them to care – this builds a strong social presence for your company!
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