Rather than let everyone jump in feet first, start by forming a social-media committee. Send out an invitation to your staff for people to join the committee, but make sure they know it’s optional. Those who come to that meeting will be the best people to represent you on the Internet. Work with them to help clarify the rules of engagement and define your company’s purpose for being on social-media sites. Then allow these people to become social-media advocates for your company. After a few weeks, have them report back to you on what’s going well, what they’ve learned, and what’s not working.
After creating a policy or implementing adjustments based on their feedback, open social media to other employees until you have everyone on the sites who wants to be there. If someone doesn’t want to tweet, blog or make Facebook posts, that’s OK. Forcing people to be your social-media voice will backfire and cause more harm than good.
Consider IT and Other Staffing Needs
When implementing social-media access company wide, your information-technology considerations are critical. You’re opening your company outside your corporate firewall. Make sure you’re protecting your company’s assets before opening those portals.
Additionally, while social-media posts can be a rewarding part of people’s day, you will eventually need a full-time staff member to oversee your social-media activities. In fact, within the next two years, every company with more than $2 million in revenue should plan to have a full-time social-media position. Big companies already have such dedicated positions in place. Take your cue from them and start planning now.
Implement Your Policy From the Top
Your company’s top-level executives need to be willing to dive into the company’s social-media activities as well. If your employees see the CEO is on Facebook, posting tweets on Twitter, blogging regularly and having fun doing it, your employees will embrace social media as well. No matter what the company’s size, structure or culture, the use of social media needs to work its way down.
The Way of the Future
Contrary to what some people may think, social media, especially for business, is not a fad. It may morph and change over time, but it’s certainly not going away. Companies that embrace it now and get employees involved will be the ones to reap the most rewards. Set up your social-media guidelines and gradually phase it into your operations. Not only will employees’ productivity increase, so will your company’s bottom line.
Heather Lutze has spent the last 10 years as CEO of The Findability Group, formerly Lutze Consulting, a search-engine marketing firm that works with companies to attain maximum Internet exposure. A nationally recognized speaker, she’s the author of The FindAbility Formula: The Easy, Non-Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing. For more information, visit www.findabilitygroup.com .