This is such a large topic for HR and business development, that we are splitting our blog into two parts.
There is no doubt, this is the social media age. The many social Media platforms have an unparalleled ability to promote, brand and expose your business. Nevertheless, it may not be controllable. What if the information out there is not exactly what, you would like promoted. What if people are saying things about your organisation, service or offering that is incorrect, misinformed or just plain wrong.
Can you stop people talking? There is both an internal and external aspect to this. There are those who comment, but are not part of your organisation, and those who are part of your organisation. What can a business do to manage the social media phenomenon?
Our Managing Director Kathryn MacMillan recently saw some interesting social media action following her live interview on ABC TV.
Interviewed, due to her long standing expertise in recruitment and the success of the part time division of the business, Kathryn was asked for comment on the huge rise in part time employment, that was evident after the release of the employment figures. Once the interview aired, it was then picked up by a variety of social media sites. Kathryn was then amazed to read the amount of comments from people, who made assumptions, not only about the validity of the interview (she was reading a script) her background (works for the government) the business (obviously funded by the government) and her personally (bet she has never held a part time job)! It can be galling to read so much misinformation and know absolutely none of it is true!
External impacts of social media can be very hard to counteract. It is important that your business monitors sites, comments left by individuals and responds appropriately. Ensuring that your business speaks with a voice that is refelective if the business is important and how do you manage that?
By managing your internal employees and what information the business releases to social media sites.
You may choose employees that have the right to comment for the business and on the business. Your Social Media Policy would detail the types of information that is acceptable to be discussed on a social media site. Your worker, may even use their own platforms to comment on the business. Think for example about Business Development professionals and their contacts on LinkedIn? Either way, the lines here can be very blurred, so both parties need to be careful.
Most organisations manage their internal employees through the use of an effective social media policy. Some businesses also develop internet surveillance systems and a correctly worked Contract of Employment should cover off on this aspect of surveillance.
A strong Social Media Policy assists the worker to understand that while they have used social media sites outside of work, where they have identified their workplace or it is common knowledge where they work, disparaging comments that can lead to identification of the workplace or individuals within, can lead to disciplinary action including termination of employment. Communicating this to workers before hand through a suitable policy, gives the business a legal footing from which to train and discipline staff
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