Whatever the size of your company, every employee has access to social media. Some may not have accounts, but even they have seen a YouTube video and know what Twitter and Facebook are. Others juggle multiple accounts and can't stay away from their phone and/or desktop feeds, perhaps to your consternation. The important thing is that, by being your employees, they have the ability to affect your company brand and image with social media. Social Media and Your REmployees

Social media is power and, as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, with great power comes great responsibility. The last thing you as the company CEO wants is to step out onto the floor of the office, see an unhappy looking staffer with a cell phone in hand, and have your spider sense tingle. At the same time, some of your employees could wield their social media accounts with the power to boost your company's image profile higher that you ever imagined. The trick is to encourage the latter and contain the former.

Draft a social media policy

Research how similar companies have found ways to facilitate proper social media use and etiquette in the workplace. Get input from all levels. Post a written document of company policy where all can access it. Remember, setting guidelines is not the same as restricting liberties, however. Nobody wants to feel that their employer is trying to stifle them. Think of social media as the new office water cooler. Anybody in the office is aware of what constitutes proper and improper behavior socially. If it wouldn't be tolerated openly, it should be frowned upon. Advise everyone to apply

  • Caution
  • Cool-Headedness
  • Consideration

It's also a good thing to remember that digging out of a hole takes infinitely greater time than it ever takes to dig one. One of the most important verbs in the English language today is SEND. Look at what goes out with your name on it. Could it be misinterpreted? Well then, yeah'_Maybe not.

Encourage engagement, don't push

Not every employee wants to use their private social media accounts in ways that will promote their job. Their Twitter and Pinterest accounts probably have no correlation to their nine-to-five existence, and there's no need for them to. It has to be voluntary or it won't work. It may even backfire. That said, others may wish to at least brag about something cool that your company, or one of their co-workers, has done. If you have a press release that you're sending out, be sure to send it along to everybody. If they want to share, they can!

This also applies to commenting on a blog post. Comments always add validity to a posting, as well as SEO value, but the comment needs to add to the discussion. Well-intentioned comments from co-workers like 'Nice post!' don't help anybody.

LinkedIn is different

Encouraging LinkedIn accounts for all employees, though, is professional, and reflects well on all staff members. You should offer tips to all workers on how to establish a presence on LinkedIn, and suggest that they look to engage with people who have similar positions by joining professional groups. This way, your employees will learn about ways to improve their work lives, and they spread the good word of your company. Company blog postings and updates through LinkedIn are perfectly suitable for sharing by all employees, and they add to the professional footprint of all involved. In the setting of professional social media services such as LinkedIn, everyone has a stake in the company brand.

For many in your company, social media is a means of personal expression that is completely divorced from their work life, and that needs to be respected. Still, there are ways to encourage the proper use of social media accounts to further your brand and visibility. Take the time to find the balance that will make everyone comfortable.

Download the Beginner's Guide to social Media Marketing

Gary Locke
By Gary Locke

A semi-professional hyphenate and the Content Editor for CommonPlaces. He has enjoyed a long career in theater and multimedia, and still hopes to one day drive the Batmobile.

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