Social Media – Embrace & Extend – 4 Tips

Lately, I’ve encountered numerous articles discussing how companies have been restricting access to social media – either by blocking it altogether during the day or placing a dictatorial moratorium on tweeting as an employee.

I suggest for my clients to take the EXACT OPPOSITE approach.

Okay, okay, don’t get all worked up. I still advocate a highly evolved and well thought out social media policy. But keep it simple (or people won’t read it). So here’s my high-level suggestion:

  1. High-Level Policy – it should be no more than a couple of pages and explain who should do what and why. It basically should outline authority and that posts should be void of editorial and full of fact, integrity and transparency. The shorter your policy the more likely it will be followed. (duh!)  It should also denote who should respond to various types of posts, and provide a triage and escalation procedure.
  2. Social Media Usage Guide – this is seldom done but highly recommended. Outline each social media platform that you want folks to use (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.) and provide examples and use cases of how to properly use it and explain common missteps to avoid.
  3. Monitor – invest in some good monitoring services so you can see what people are saying and what your employees are posting. Then, use missteps as teaching opportunities and successes as leadership examples (gold stars).
  4. Educate – create a social media orientation module as part of our new hire orientation and make sure existing employees go through the training as well. It should include a quiz with “what if” scenarios.

Your employees should be your brand ambassadors – it’s free, accurate and genuine cheerleading that can reach so many more people. Most everybody is already on Facebook, so just having a few extra employees trumpet something can go a long way to reach several thousand more people.  User generated content is more powerful than advertising, so why wouldn’t you tap this virtually free resource?

Just be their to assist, support, extend, embrace and coach your staff and you’ll be able to leverage an army of social referrals.

Here’s a great article on this subject by Derek Gordon:

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