I’ve worked for a number of organisations that have attempted to write a social medial policy. Some revert to plagiarising, others make a concerted effort to craft something bespoke. Most policies end up reflecting a fear of staff being let loose and the consequences being akin to a young boy peeing into the wind.
However, social media in the hands of your staff can be an influential tool.
When used well, a staff member posting about your organisation’s wins can be more powerful than the same story being posted on your organisational page alone. When it comes from a person and not an entity, the material is believable, has integrity, and the reader will relate more easily. In brief, it doesn’t smell like propaganda.
Better still, if the author has first-hand involvement in the good news story – if they were actually there – it will inject a level of emotion that your communications team simply cannot emulate.
Also, your author’s friends will have similar interests, values and ideals, therefore, the theme is likely to land squarely in their laps creating engagement. That then gives rise to a likelihood of the post being shared.
The post can and should also be shared on to your corporate page, giving rise to guest bloggers, which again changes the dynamic with the reader.
What about this idea?
Are you trying to lead change in your organisation that affects your stakeholders, such as funding bodies or customers/clients?
Gather a group of staff together who you know are champions of the change and give them permission to document the change on their personal social media platforms.
Can you think of anyone your current and future stakeholders will trust more than an inside source – especially if you live in a small town where the author is quite possibly known to your stakeholders?
What about as a tool for attracting staff?
Again, who will potential staff believe more than someone who has been there, done that? Akin to a testimonial, it’s less contrived and more believable.
All of these three approaches will deliver the added benefit of engaging staff. The strategy will create a sense of personal pride as well as allow staff to connect with the reason for your social media presence and the importance of heralding positive outcomes.
Don’t buy the cultural norm that social media in the hands of your staff is the enemy. Treat your staff as adults, and adopt the mindset that it can work for you.
What’s more, think twice before writing a policy that states “Thou must refrain from uttering thine employer’s name in a public forum or trumpeting an opinion even loosely related to thou work”.