Everything that your employees say about your company reflects on your brand image. They can either improve or destroy your reputation. They also need to be closely supervised to make sure that they reflect properly on your company.
This is becoming even more important in the digital era. Half of all employees discuss their company on social media, but few businesses oversee the content they post. Make sure that your employees and contractors are utilized properly to benefit your company’s image.
How Do Your Employees Support Your Brand?
Your company’s brand is its most valuable asset. Unfortunately, a single careless employee can ruin it. Here are some tips to protect your online reputation.
Establish Your Own Goals
It is always a good idea to create a social media policy that all your employees and contractors must abide by. The policy must stipulate what types of content is prohibited and reasonable consequences for violating it. The policy needs to be strictly enforced to be effective.
Most importantly, the policy needs to support your brand image. As this infographic clearly shows, companies that fail to plan should plan to fail. The same goes for creating a social media policy. You cannot expect your employees to support your brand image online if you don’t even know what it is yourself. Review your company goals and make sure that your social media policy aligns with them.
Monitor Brand Mentions
You need to always monitor your company’s online reputation. There are a variety of ideas to consider:
- Create a Google Alert for your company’s brand name.
- Check your analytics to see if there are any unusual spikes in traffic. These visitors may be referred from employees on different social media sites. Higher traffic may sound like a good thing, but it could create branding problems if your employees referred people to your website by making statements that didn’t reflect well on your company. Look at the sources of all referral traffic to see what information was posted about your company.
- Subscribe to hashtag’s for your company name on Twitter.
- Consider investing in online reputation management tools such as BrandWatch or Backtweets.
These tools will help alert you to any statements about your company brand. You should be able to assess which statements were made by your employees and contractors, which makes it easy to enforce your company social media policy.
Consider Following Employee Social Media Profiles
You may also want to follow your employees on social media. Just make sure that you don’t overstep any boundaries in the process, because many employees may not want to feel like their boss is monitoring them.
They may feel violated if you force them to be friends with them on Facebook. However, you can always notify them that you reserve the right to monitor their Facebook profiles if you are concerned that they violated the company social media policy. Monitoring employees on other social media sites is much easier, because the information is often posted publicly.
It is important to be respectful of your employee’s boundaries with their personal lives. Avoid sanctioning them unless you feel that their online conduct somehow reflects poorly on the company brand.
Communicate Brand Strategy
You can protect your brand by restricting the types of content that your employees can share on social media. Unfortunately, you cannot factor for everything that they might post which would negatively impact your brand. At the end of the day, you will need to rely on their judgment. Rather than micromanage their social media activities, you should communicate your brand vision and trust them to adopt it.
All of your employees should understand the company mission and the voice that you want to use. They will have an easier time supporting your brand if they have been properly educated on it.
Encourage Soft Promotions
An impulsive employee on social media can be a liability to your brand. However, an engaging, thoughtful and intelligent employee can be your greatest asset. You will want to encourage your employees to share content with your followers on social media. Well-respected employees can convert their friends and family members to customers or encourage them to spread information about your company.
However, you need to make sure that your employees are selective about the type of content that they share. Even their closest friends may eventually start to tune them out if they are constantly bombarded with information about your company. Encourage them to filter out any content that their social media followers won’t be interested in.
Make Your Employees Your Brand Ambassadors
Social media has given your employees much more visibility. For better or worse, everything that they say about your company will impact your brand. You will need to be proactive to minimize the risks they pose, while also leveraging your employees to your benefit.
You can protect your brand image by creating a clear social media policy and educating your employees about the company vision. Companies that implement these policies are more likely to convey their brand image on social media.