Social Media At Work. Not So Fast.

Social media at work is not always the best idea.

Social Media Policies Are Important

They protect the brand. They protect the employee. (Hootsuite has a good how-to for writing a smart company social media policy.)

This. 

I’ve read all kinds of employee social media policies: long and legalese and annoying; crazy restrictive; relaxed, open and ‘don’t be dumb. and seriously, don’t be dumb on social media.’

FWIW that’s more of what I as Human Resources plus Employee (aka key Public) Relations pro would write vis a vis my thoughts on using your personal cell phone at work.

Employees Are The Brand

Employees can make or break a company, its brand, its reputation, which is where social media while on the job gets tricky.

Many of us HR and PR and Internal Communications types want employee advocates, we want to have smart people throughout the company representing the brand – representing it well, duh – on social media. (On the job, goes without typing).

Well isn’t guaranteed because, alas people are people. They are human.

Employees have ideas and opinions, thoughts and beliefs. They do things and say things, type things and like things, they post things. They share what’s them, which could be off brand, off message, offensive or flat out off.

Scarier for any organization and its HR and PR departments, employees make mistakes that can really impact the brand.

One Job To Do: Your Job

The envelope mixup that has people still talking about the Oscars and PwC (nee PricewaterhouseCoopers) is a perfect example. Had disaster not ensued, the [deleted] tweet might have been a good ‘human face on a brand’ moment. Instead, Steve Harvey jokes.

I know people who use social media ALL. DAY. LONG. They don’t have careers in SM; customer service, healthcare, many different industries, many hate it for them 9-to-5 and other shift work jobs.

I wonder how they do it. They’re on the clock, not getting paid to tweet and I genuinely fear for 1) the quality of their work and 2) that they’ll get caught and canned.

Using social media at work can be good, for the employee and the company. Yet as we’ve just seen, it can also be a big distraction, and/or go terribly wrong.

Do you use social media at work? Tell me how you’re smart about it.

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