Your online reputation is a valuable asset to your business, whether you do business online or offline. The Internet is a place where anyone can say nearly anything—and once it is there, it is there. While online reputation management can do things to shift the deck in your favor (pushing bad results beyond where most people look) your employees could be at least partially to blame.
Employees: Damaging Your Reputation on the Clock
Social media is a relatively new marketing tool in the grand scheme of things. When used correctly, it can be a wonderful tool to help you connect with and engage customers—which helps to improve customer retention and your customer service.
However, if an employee doesn’t know rules of social media etiquette and your company does not have a social media policy in place, then you could be setting yourself up for disaster.
Fix it with a corporate social media policy. Depending on what your company is involved in, you may need to add and change some specifics, but here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Make sure everyone knows about what is okay to post and not to post in terms of your proprietary information and trade secrets.
- Make sure everyone knows copyright rules, and doesn’t do anything that can infringe upon it.
- Have a policy for the company blog.
- Have a policy for commenting.
- Have a policy in place for responding to things that are posted on social media.
Have anyone who can post on behalf of your company trained in social media. Limit the number of people who can post for your company. This will ensure everyone is on the same page.
How to Create a Social Media Policy
Employees and Their Own Social Media Accounts: Who Can See What
Though for most businesses, what someone says on their own social media profile does not really matter, high profile businesses need to make sure their employees are not using personal accounts to talk about the company.
The employees who work for you speak volumes about your company. It’s up to you to determine what is acceptable and what’s not. Can an employee vent about a customer on his or her personal social media accounts? What if no specific names are given and the company is not mentioned?
Whatever policies you setup for your social media use, make sure you include what is acceptable for your employees to use on their private accounts. Don’t assume that just because an employee doesn’t have a public profile that people won’t see it. Clearly outline these rules and expectations so your employees don’t make mistakes off the clock that could cost them their job.
Disgruntled Employees: Damaging Your Reputation After the Fact
This is where you may have the most problem, and the least control. If an employee quits or is fired, he or she could be so upset at the situation that could cause a number of negative comments and reviews online.
To prevent this issue, make sure the employee has a window of time after employment terminates where they are legally and contractually bound not to hassle your company. If it happens, you can then take legal action, if you feel it necessary.
Let’s be clear on one thing. Not every employee who manages your social media accounts or leaves the job with your company will be out to tarnish your reputation. You likely have tons of wonderful employees, but all it takes is one person who isn’t clear on social media, or one person who is upset.