As corporations adopt a peer to peer medium, they slowly learn that the multitudes out there are seeking interactions with other humans or, at the very least, interactions with a human quality to them. This, of course, is awkward for a large company that must speak for all of its employees with a single voice. It would be much more natural, and powerful, if corporate employees, each with their own social accounts, were to actively represent the corporate brand each through their own personal interactions online. Now, hold on there! You might say…This is a control crisis if ever there was one! And indeed there are concerns to address.
Letting employees loose as amateur spokespeople opens risks that they may utter spontaneous and compromising statements and share inappropriate content. Given the number of recent social media ‘fails’ initiated by rogue employee tweets or videos, this fear is well founded. Can it be managed? Yes. Corporate policy for sanctioned employee social accounts should always initiate at a pilot project level with a close and trusted cohort of early adopters relatively high up the ladder. Do’s and don’ts should be clearly defined and some more advanced sensitivity training, especially around dealing with angry critics and advocates, is recommended. This pilot group’s learnings should be documented and then included in a training manual for wider adoption. Once the initial small circle of employee ambassadors has had a 6 month run at it, consider widening the circle and establish processes for disseminating content through wider networks and channels for retrieving intelligence and other input from the larger social employee community.
If the above sounds complicated, consider the competitive advantages that companies gain when more of their workforce is collectively leveraging their online influence and the risks of not having this ‘army’ when things turn against you.
Here is the complete chapter text from the #Social Survival Manifesto:
Principle for Survival #8:
QUIT BEING A MONOLITH
If your company has but a single voice online to represent all of its execs and employees, you are not capitalizing on some very important online resources, especially in times of crisis.
The more ambassadors you have representing your interests from the inside and adding the color of their own knowledge to the brand experience, the more influential you will be in the social sphere.
When people turn the heat on you, your online ambassadors will be your first line of defence and will multiply the avenues available to you for getting your side of the story out there.
Sure, this is a control issue but what isn’t? If there are members of your team that are so proud of the company that they would associate their social accounts with it, then you would be foolish not to empower them.
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