Social Media. It’s not in your job description.

You don't get paid to socialize

You don’t get paid to socialize

“I don’t pay my employees  to chat online and socialize with their friends and the customers.  Mike is a designer, Tiffany handles invoicing and John runs the warehouse.  If they’re on the computer chatting then they’re wasting company money and time.”

This statement is true. “But”, you say.  I did too.

It seems everyone you meet is on Facebook and by the minute more are sticking their foot into the twitter stream.  As passionate as us “Social Media” zealots are about the benefits of having brand ambassadors for our companies, what my associate says is true.

Does your company have Social Media Guidelines?  If you don’t, your company is wasting or will waste a whole lot of time.

My associate’s other point of contention was the risk of what his employees are saying and to whom. By now we’ve all heard the stories and even witnessed posts and chats gone awry. I found out this past week one of my tweetup members lost his job recently after having a conversation with a competitor on twitter. They were just sharing commonalities about web design challenges just as they would have if they randomly met at the coffee shop. But the minute one asked the other “where do you work” – the company monitoring system caught it.

We get fired up over the benefits of our Social Media passion, but you have to consider the damage your employees can do in a single post, not only from the company computer (on company time), but even from their own personal phone posts. One single comment stops being a personal lunchroom chat among three people and instead is instantly revealed to the masses. Forever.

My associate recalled one of his reps from out of town who fancied his Social Media prowess.  The rep posted on twitter and included my associate’s company name.  Now, while my associate tends not to be one of extroverted, narcissistic “look at me, I’m special” personalities that Social Media is wrought with, and it also doesn’t even matter that I think the post was harmless – fact is he saw it and took the context of the post the wrong way and felt it showed the company in poor light. The boss felt out of control of his brand.

I forget who said it (it was a twitter post), but it was basically this: “Social Media is right for your company, but is your company ready for Social Media?”  (apologizes to the author for not remembering your name or acknowledging publicly your brilliance.)

Erin Semet, Volunteer at Social Media Club PDX responded to this very topic running on LinkedIn.  She provided this link to Intel’s Social Media Guidelines. I appreciate the rules of engagement, but even this document doesn’t address “non-essential” or “back end” employees (i.e.: non-marketing, sales, customer service…) figure in the plan during business hours.  Should they?

How does your company justify or allow for the enormous time social media requires in relation to the clock and duties?

For a look at what to consider when setting up a Social Media plan or department as well as the what and why you should, check out this presentation by Kelly Feller:
[slideshare id=1211468&doc=gettingitjobsinsocialmediaedited-090327121658-phpapp01]

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