There isn’t a business owner or HR manager who doesn’t get cold sweats just thinking about what their employees do, say, and share on social media. The scale of the business risk is tough to stomach, but there’s a golden marketing opportunity just waiting to be unlocked.
Employees own their personal social profiles, but that doesn’t mean they’re free to publish anything they want. What they publish can, and does, have a direct impact on their employer, no matter how fancy the disclaimer in their bio.
In fact, employees are the biggest media asset that is currently being completely ignored. By ignoring the risk (which most businesses do), you’re ignoring an opportunity to convert your employees into social brand advocates who collectively, have both reach and influence.
As soon as you recognise the potential of the “employed media opportunity,” you will start to understand that mitigating the risk and unlocking the opportunity can be achieved together through the correct training.
Social savvy employees, empowered with the knowledge and tools to represent the brand, overflowing with great content to share and be proud of, will contribute more to your online brand conversations than almost any other demographic. So why do we ignore them?
Truth is, we don’t trust our employees. This lack of trust means that most employees are deliberately excluded from information until it’s officially in the public domain. The moment you exclude an employee from the process, they’ll exclude you from their social channels. And rightly so.
By identifying those employees who would best serve as brand advocates, we can actively involve them in the content production process so they feel ownership and pride in the content the company is publishing. By training and educating our employees we can trust them with information and bring them in on the news before it goes public. It’s also their news after all.
It all starts with training, which is why Cerebra built an online social media academy with the specific purpose of educating corporate employees on successful social media use, to help companies identify the best brand advocate candidates, and to build and run an employed media asset that both mitigates the risks and consistently delivers value back to the business. Cerebra’s Employed Media Opportunity eBook covers this topic extensively.
If you don’t invest in training then your only option is to wait until it’s your turn to go through the social media wringer over something an employee said. Or worse, fall foul of corporate governance or legislative guidelines because of an uneducated employee’s online behavior. Sadly, your social media policy will not save you. Education is your best option.
This article is featured in the Heavy Chef Review - Education Edition. It is available for download here.