Where ever you look today you see that everyone is using social media and not just in their personal lives. Look around many of the big companies are using social media as well. Some do it well some do it poorly.
What is twitter for big business? It’s more than just a place to tweet about your accomplishments. People want to see the people inside the organization. They don’t want to be advertised at they want to create and nurture relationships with people inside the organization. They want to know someone on ‘the inside.’
The hard part for business is how do they utilize Twitter (and other social networks) while still maintaining their overall marketing plan? I recently talked with a religious ministry that acknowledges some of their constituents don’t approve of drinking so it would be inappropriate to tweet “Beer and burgers on the weekend yum yum.” So how do they let employees have a presence on Twitter to communicate while making sure that they are furthering the mission and goals of the organization?
First off let’s separate personal and business twitter accounts. Yeah I know that the purpose of Twitter is to be personal but note the example above. There are lots of personal things that you may choose to share on Twitter that are not really appropriate to share as an employee tweeting with a business and really do you want your personal Twitter account to align with the companies marketing plan?
Second get some more generic business twitter accounts. What do you do when your lead developer leaves the business and lots of your clients were interacting with them? Do you loose all of the clients? If you didn’t part on good terms will they use it to damage your reputation? A more generic business Twitter account means you can switch who runs it if employee’s change.
Third you need to have an established written plan or code of conduct for use of social media for work purposes. As with the example above some things just aren’t good to be discussing over work channels. To help avoid unfortunate slips write a clearly define do and don’t list for social media interaction. Yes you will probably have some times when things won’t go as planned but a well written clear plan will help mitigate those times.
Yes business should be using social media. There are tonnes of benefits from client interaction, support, and relationship building. Don’t just jump into the social media realm. Create a clear concise plan, separate the work and personal social media chanels for employee’s, and create business related accounts. If you start out on the right foot above you are way farther down the path to success.