It’s a brave new world out there when it comes to social media and HR departments. As an HR manager, you might know that your team should be involved, but you come up short when it comes to execution. The truth is that to outsiders, your social media presence is its front-facing image—and often the first point of contact with prospects. For this reason (and more), HR professionals need to take care in ensuring they are curating the best image possible.
First and foremost, it’s best practice to seek legal counsel before investing in a social media program, to avoid violating trademark law. Legal professionals can assist in the development and implementation of an online strategy that deals with issues of both protection and enforcement of trademarks.
From here, have training programs, standards and policies in place for employees, so nothing is left to chance. Employees need to have a clear understanding of how to most appropriately use social media to protect the company brand. This doesn’t end with the company’s accounts.
HR managers are best served to monitor how employees are using their personal accounts, especially when posting about the company, its leadership and fellow employees. Aside from the reputation monitoring aspect, checking in can provide insights into employee engagement, talent and potential red flags.
Speaking of engagement, there are some tried and true tips to connect with prospects and customers on a deeper level. Here are a few:
- When using a company’s social media account, use pronouns such as “us,” “our,” and “we” as to foster a consistent voice.
- Always provide something of value before posting. Keep overly promotional content to a minimum. Social media is a great venue for thought leadership and positioning your company as the subject-matter expert, not pushing products per se.
- Never refer to a customer, client, vendor, supplier, or partner without their explicit approval. Some industries are more sensitive than others.
- Give credit to other sources when posting information and never lift something. That’s plagiarism.
- Make room for error. Social media is driven by people, and people aren’t perfect. Social media will be an evolving process.
- Don’t let them go it alone. If you see a problem with how they are representing the company online, step in and use it as a teachable moment. Help employees understand not only the protocols, but the rationale behind them.
The bottom line? Take a proactive approach to identity in the social media realm from the outset and you’re less likely to have problems. The peace of mind is worth some work on the front end.
Written By Toni Widman