“Companies often want this one single voice but when you have thousands of employees there’s no way you can have a single voice and be authentic,” – Professor Joonas Rokka
One of the best links I saw last week was about how employees active on social media play a crucial role in corporate brand management. According to the article there is now evidence that social media empowers employees. It recommends companies need to spend more time nurturing people to harness this new and unexpected form of marketing.
But despite this research , which hints at the incredible possibilities of a highly engaged and massively social workplace, another survey tells us that 47% of senior managers believe social media is the biggest threat they face.
Yes – the single biggest tech threat to organisations isn’t an impending cyber attack. It’s what people are saying on Facebook.
It’s increasingly obvious that there’s a huge fault line between organisations who are on the social business journey and those who want to try and hold back a digital tsunami.
How can we bridge it?
I think this article by Joe Ross contains a really good idea. Everyone take the time to create a personal social media policy.
Let’s relieve employers of the responsibility for social media (It’s clearly keeping 47% awake at night!). Let’s devolve everything to the employee!
OK I exaggerate. But It made me realise that I do have a personal social media policy. Just mine has not been written down and is constantly developing based upon my learning.
Company social media policies are written at a point in time and can be restrictive – whereas writing one for yourself is hugely empowering.
- A personal policy is you taking ownership and setting out your own rules and objectives.
- It’s you saying I’m an adult and I’m capable of representing myself online both personally and professionally.
- It’s about owning your digital identity in a way an employer simply can’t.
So here’s my personal social media policy:
1: Have a clear strategy for what you want to be known for
For me – it’s at the header of this blog: Customer Experience , Innovation , Social Business. I can still post pictures of funny cats , but that’s the top three subjects I share content on. What are yours?
2: Never say anything online you wouldn’t say to your boss’s face
Assume that anything you post could be published to the whole world and can never be removed. Even things you private message. It’s safer that way
3: Don’t be afraid to be provocative
This might seem to contradict the previous tip but there’s a difference between being provocative and being stupid and offensive. If your employer doesn’t get that I’d really start looking for somewhere else to spend your days.
4: Don’t talk about yourself all the time
Social media is partly about ego. Having a blog is about ego. But don’t let your ego get too big. Always share others content more than you share your own. Ideally at a ratio of 80:20. Look at most corporate feeds. They usually only ever talk about themselves.
5: Don’t argue with idiots
I’ve done it. I’ve tried to engage trolls. You almost always come off worse. It’s great to see a spat break out online. But just like playground fights – it’s far more entertaining for the crowd than the participants. And when you’re online the bruises last longer.
6: Be clear on how you follow back
Personal choice. But if you follow everyone you might be accused of trying to game your follower count. If you follow just a few you might appear arrogant and self-obsessed. My personal rule? If you look like the sort of person I’d talk to in a pub – I’ll follow back.
7: Don’t be a robot
It’s fine to automate posts. But just don’t over do it. I did once – posting pretty much 24 hours a day. A few of my friends pointed out that it looked robotic. I listened. I learnt.
8: Share the love – share your sources
This can be difficult ,especially on Twitter with the punishing character limit, but attributing your sources is the pinnacle of social media etiquette. It’s also the fastest legitimate way to build a tribe. People love a sharer. Sharers get followed.
9: Be clear on mixing personal and private
There’s no correct rule here other than your own. But whether you post 100% work related content or share every Foursquare check-in – you can still add personality to your posts. Write tweets that only you could write.
10: Wash your mouth out
Don’t swear – unless you are funny with it. Like Charlie Brooker – who once said that a social media policy should really be written in four words: Don’t be a dick
Over to you…..
I’d love to hear some of your personal social media rules in the comments box!