Back in the old days, companies were always leery of jumping on technologies and new mediums that they perceived would damage their security and drive down employee productivity. Many still are. When telephones first came out, employers thought they should never have one on each employee's desk, because then they would call people all day. When personal computers were new, many of the employees had to share them or they weren't allowed to have personal disks, because employers were afraid that employees would not spend their time doing company business, or would leave the premises with copyrighted, proprietary information and take it straight to their competitor. Then there were company laptops, company cell phones and being able (or unable) to access the internet at work. The cry was still the same: employees will stop working and security will be compromised.
Of course, none of these fears were borne out. In fact, giving employees more access and more tools only made them more productive and smarter. Corporations that took the longest to implement access and protocols about employee use of them took the longest to benefit from the new technologies as well. Now we are hearing the old refrain from stodgy corporations jittery about giving employees access to social media sites like Twitter, Facebook YouTube, Linked-In and all sorts of real time, online multi-media interaction.
While it is true that a lot can go wrong if you permit ad-hoc employee usage of these sites, a lot can go right if you do. In fact, the most ardent advocate a company can have is an employee. Just like many companies rely on social media marketing campaigns and SEO content to generate new clients, so can employees use the social media in an organic way to do the same. The issue is that you must have a policy governing usage.
Remember, search engine optimization yields the best results when it leads people to your company's website from all manner of far flung sites and convoluted pathways because it increases your popularity in the eyes of Google. Since employees are typically the most loyal customers a company can have, you can take advantage of their natural enthusiasm and the organic buzz they can create fro you through their tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube posts, blog posts, etc.
Anytime an employee posts something positive about your company on their Facebook page, all their friends (read potential clients) will see it. The more people see it, comment on it or simply hit the icon to show they "like" it, the more people's page news about your brand will populate and the farther around Facebook it goes. Let's face it, there's no denying that social networking sites are the new forum for word-of-mouth advertising. The best part is that is comes with visual advertising because words will come with a direct link to your company. This is viral marketing at its best, and you could be missing out on all the free publicity. The flipside is that if someone posts a negative review of your product or service, you will already have a large amount of positive press in the form of fresh content posted by your employees available to search engines to combat its negative impact.
Optimum7 can help you to develop a binding, legal set of guidelines to ensure that you protect your brand from defamation and theft, while giving you employees the freedom to talk all they want about you and advocate for your brand. Since your continued success is their continued success, it is a win-win situation for everybody. Contact us and begin creating your Company's Social Media Guidelines today!