Are Employees Killing Your Business Reputation Management Strategy?
March 18, 2015
With a well-crafted business reputation management plan, you can recover from almost any snafu. By removing data that harms you, and creating new pieces of info that put your company in a positive light, you can ensure that your company always comes up smelling like roses.
But, you'll need to share your plans with each and every person who works in your company, even if those people don't have direct access to your social media accounts. Why? Because untrained staffers could undo a lot of your business reputation management efforts in a hurry.
Employees & Business Reputation Management: On-the-Job Issues
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Social media blunders can take many, many forms. And each and every one of these mistakes could be disastrous for your reputation.
Here's one example from 2011: An American Red Cross employee was logged into the company's Twitter account, not a personal account. This channel should have been used for official company business, but instead, the person wrote up a little description of an evening of drinking, along with the hashtag "gettngslizzerd."
Here's another example from 2014: An MSNBC employee, using the company's Twitter account, outlined how a specific set of politicians might respond to an advertisement featuring a biracial family.
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In both of these examples, an employee is using the company's channel to say something considered unacceptable or unpleasant. To readers, these comments come right from the company, and they damage the company's reputation. Unless employees know that they should be extra careful with formal communications, these blunders can happen over and over again.
A second set of mistakes come about when employees who are on the job and who are publically identified with a company make comments on their personal social media accounts that disparage clients, the company or the community at large.
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This kind of thing is common in veterinary medicine, according to Snout School, as veterinary techs might snap photos of wee animals in recovery from surgeries, and then write screeds about how the procedures shouldn't have been performed, or how the owner's neglect caused the issue to begin.
These difficulties are a little easier to hide, as someone might have to do a little digging to see the connection between a nasty comment and your company. But dig they might, and when they do, they could put your company's reputation right back at square one.
Disclosure is Key
So what sorts of things should you share with your employees? It varies, but in general, the more your employees know, the more they can help you.
Consider holding a meeting in which you discuss your company's new and detailed reputation management plan. Discuss what sorts of challenges you're hoping to overcome, and what sorts of things you'll be doing to correct the problem. Be as general or as specific as you feel comfortable, but do end that meeting with a take-away document.
That takeaway should contain your company's social media policy, and it should be as clear and as detailed as possible. Discuss:
- Who has the right to speak for the company
- Why discussions about internal procedures, key clients or revenues are inappropriate
- What penalties will accrue for unauthorized disclosures
- How you'll monitor employees for compliance
Each person in your company should have a copy of that document, and each person should sign a form that states that they've read the words and will comply with them.
The document you create has power only if you choose to keep your promises. And that means you must monitor your employees and make sure that they're sticking to the rules and regulations you've outlined. And sometimes, you'll spot problems that don't break the rules outright, but could still cause you a problem.
For example, one woman came to her company dressed as a victim of the Boston marathon for Halloween. She popped a photo on social media, and the world went crazy. People were outraged, and within minutes, they had figured out her name, where she worked and where she lived.
If you spot an issue like this, a little training could be a big help. Many people just don't understand how social media and reputation management works. They think they are cloaked in privacy, when they're really exposed. Train your employees, when you see issues like this, and explain why reputation work matters. You could help your company, and you could help those people to avoid their own reputation problems down the line.
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