It is incredibly important for corporate entities to develop legal guidelines regarding the use of social media by their employees. Although the prevailing instinct is to prohibit the access of all social media sites from employee use, this may not be the wisest course of action. Companies might be surprised to know that their greatest fears will not come true if they have a corporate legal policy. In other words, despite sounding counterintuitive, their employees won't spend all day ignoring their work as they Facebook their friends and corporate secrets will not end up on the web.
While the assumption is that worker productivity will decrease, the reality is that the happier employees are, the more productive are. In the past, companies were hesitant to arm employees with tools that would make them more sociable, such as personal laptops or company cell phones, but those who went ahead realized that these tools simply made their employees work smarter. Access to the internet and to social networking sites will undoubtedly prove no different. In fact, there is one huge benefit to allowing employees access to social networking sites that has not widely been factored in to the debate thus far: free marketing.
Employees are the most loyal customers any corporate entity has. If a clear legal guideline has been issued to everyone about what company details cannot be broadcast on the web, that only leaves employees with permissible things to say—which are usually positive. So far, the potential for brand building that comes literally from the mouth of employees as they talk to their friends via their personal social media pages, has not been fully realized. As employees tweet, post their thoughts and their pictures from work, their company, your company, gets organic, free, positive press. Word of mouth is the best advertising, and your employees can be an engine driving word of mouth buzz about you. Everyone wins as well, because the company's strength adds to their security and vice versa.
Remember, anything an employee says about you on their personal page has the ability to travel far and wide through their followers, friends and family, and even the "friends of friends" and beyond. This can be the most influential and authoritative kind of SEO, because it is user generated and syndicated. It basically amounts to authentic, word of mouth advertising.
The other benefit is that you will be able to create a corporate atmosphere where everyone is intimately aware of the guidelines regarding the company's public face, because it is relevant to how they work and communicate each day. Therefore, if an ex-employee wishes to hurt the company's reputation by posting unfavorable, libelous comments online, the company has the higher legal ground to battle defamation, not to mention that other employees will protect the name of the company by positively responding to a defamation attack.
Optimum7 is partnering with legal service providers to help you develop a corporate legal social media guideline for your workplace, to indemnify your company from damage to its reputation, and to protect its intellectual properties. However, this can be done while at the same time allowing your employees more expression throughout their day, which can provide your company with a stronger presence in the marketplace. Contact us today to see how we can help.