When US President Barack Obama posted his first tweet via @POTUS – Bill Clinton was quick to ask “Does the username stay with the office?”. President Obama assured him “The handle comes with the house. (…).” Important information, as the next president would not want to create a @POTUS45 handle.
So why is this story relevant for companies? Being social, matters. Companies are realizing that employee advocacy is a game changer and are encouraging employees to be socially active and engage with their networks. Social media is a great opportunity to be where our customers are and connect in conversations early.
However, when engaging with our networks we should do this as ourselves without adding our company name – in my case that would be “SAP” – to our social handle. Because in our jobs, usually the social media handle “does not stay with the cubicle”.
When we leave the company, the handle leaves with us. And even though I would assume that the majority of ex-employees wouldn’t deliberately cause any harm to their former employer; from a governance perspective, companies should play it safe and ensure that a social handle naming guideline is part of their social media policy.
A great way to indicate who you’re working for is your description. Here you can add “Marketing Expert at (Company Name)”, “Sales Executive at (Company Name)”, etc.
Let’s look at how company executives and entrepreneurs named their handles:
- @BillRMcDermot Bill McDermott
- @BillGates Bill Gates
- @SusanWojcicki Susan Wojcicki
- @richardbranson Richard Branson
- @tim_cook Tim Cook
- @sherylsandberg Sheryl Sandberg
They are all just using their name.
If your name is already taken, use a creative twist like FirstNameLastNameHRExecutive or SocialLastName – there are many options! Just keep it professional and leave your company name out of it.