How Your Employees’ Personal Reputations Affect Your Company’s Brand
A company’s reputation is a complex concept that isn’t only influenced by brand recognition, but also personal online reputations of employees, executives and partners. In the digital world, companies must set up guidelines to encourage employees to use social media in a productive way.
While some companies have taken a strict approach to employees’ social media use, on both personal social media interactions and company-driven interactions, this also has the potential to backfire.
Companies that provide an open and helpful approach to personal online reputation management often get better results. This means making the effort and work to train employees to use social media interactions as a valuable business tool. Proper social media guidelines will build an employee’s personal brand, and will help build your corporate image as well.
Social media can be a great tool, since it can be a collaboration platform and opens up access to ideas. This is especially true for larger companies that have employees spread across the globe. At the same time, social media poses a risk to brand reputation. A disgruntled employee can have direct access to your customer base, and could inflict reputational damage with a negative comment.
Social Media Guidelines
There are five basic principles that you should follow with social media interactions. These guidelines work for companies that are representing themselves online as well as employees and corporate leaders who choose to use social media via personal profiles:
- Represent yourself
As brand ambassadors, your employees should be encouraged to consider these principles and the impact their social media activity could have on both corporate and personal brand. The best online reputation management is proactive.
Some users view social media outlets as the gossip forum for the office, but social media posts will spread a lot faster online. If your employees’ profiles are public, and their posts are shared online, any potential conflict goes from an internal situation to a global online reputation management issue.
However, with proper training and guidance, employees can learn the value that social media can have for them personally. For example, an employee can become a beacon of information within your industry and improve their reputation as well as the corporate brand.
A good starting point is to encourage employees to represent themselves online as they would at a business meeting. They also need to understand that every interaction online will forever be recorded somewhere, since it’s pretty hard to delete things from the internet.