You Are What You Tweet...
Businesses are built and lost on reputation. Workplace security has always been a concern, but these days more than ever, social media plays a pivotal role in bolstering or damaging the reputation of your company. There are two channels by which social media can affect your business: what is posted online by your company and what is posted online by others outside your organization. In this day and age, you are what you tweet, or what others tweet about you.
This article examines the importance of social media in shoring up your workplace security measures, specifically, in relation to the social media practices that your employees are engaged in.
Here are 4 things that your employees may be doing on social media and why they matter to your business' reputation:
1. Risky behaviour
Examples of risky behavior that can affect your personal or corporate reputation online come from everywhere.A New York Congressman, aptly named Anthony Wiener, resigned in shame when the sexting messages to his mistress went public. A Taco Bell employee was fired after posting a photo of himself licking a bunch of taco shells that may have been meant for public consumption.
We’ve all heard the stories.
Personal missteps in the realm of social media can have much larger ramifications that go far beyond the individual.
2. Disclosing confidential information
Did your employee just tweet about your new client before the ink was dry on the contract?
Employees can carelessly disclose sensitive information about your business. This could negatively affect relationships with your customers.
Further, employees may, unknowingly, feed valuable information to your competitors that was meant to stay in the proverbial company vault.
3. Unethical online behaviour
Your employees are representatives of your company, even when they are off the clock. It’s much easier to keep your staff focused on your mission when they are sitting at their desk. It's a totally different animal when they’re out on the town after a few too many draft beers.
In May, an engineer at HydroOne, in Ontario Canada, yelled some offensive remarks towards a female reporter outside of an arena. His identity was quickly revealed on social media. He was promptly fired for his conduct, despite the fact that he was off work at the time of the incident. While this wasn’t a direct result of his online activity, it doesn’t take much to imagine a scenario where the entire debacle was carried out over 140 character messages online.
4. Online company slurs
Some social media users post details about their every waking minute; from what they ate for breakfast, to intimate details of their recent breakup. For some over-sharers, talking online about stresses and problems in the workplace is a natural impulse. But what happens when your employee rants about the failings of your management, or the inadequacies of your business for the world to see? Heaven forbid they start spewing details about a disgruntled support call they had earlier that day.
Loose lips sink ships. This is especially true online, where you can start losing credibility and real business dollars.
How does this affect your business?
In a 2014, Deloitte conducted a study of high-level managers. Over half of the managers surveyed felt that the highest risk to the reputation of their company came from the conduct of their employees.
Your employees are an extension of your reputation as a whole. Ensuring that the use of social media by your employees is in line with your corporate sensibility is paramount.
Yet, social media policy is not an exact science. Much of the online conduct of your employees, especially outside of the office place, falls into a grey area. In some cases, employers have been found discriminatory in their termination of employees who misbehaved online.
Because the parameters around managing your employee’s online habits are vague, many companies have near minimalist social media policies, if at all! For example, zappos.com has one that is a mere 7 words: “Be Real and Use Your Best Judgment”.
What you can do to try and avoid all of this
So how do you go about ensuring that the online messaging of your organization is in line with your corporate ethics?
Establish a Social Media Policy. Today. Start with a Social Media Policy you like, get it signed by all your employees and filed away by HR. Some great example policies by industry leaders can be found on the Hire Rabbit blog.
Already have a policy in place? Great work! Next up is setting up social media monitoring for your brand. There are a ton of great companies that you can use. Sysomos and Hootsuite are great examples with varied customer bases.
Hyper-local social media monitoring tools, like Echosec, are great to use if your brand has specific locations you would like to monitor. They specialize in starting with a location of interest. Echosec can also be used to set up alerts to capture posts from the online persona of anyone, involved in any way with your company, then to map this information in a relevant, digestible manner.
These software options can set up alerts for keywords, usernames, specific regions or images. Essentially, tracking any online presence that can reflect back on your organization.
Now consider this: if you have all this information collected to ensure that social media use within your company is not harming your company's reputation. Imagine how you can use this software to tighten up workplace security and polish your reputation.
Learn more about Location-based Social Listening with Echosec