Herding Cats: Keeping Your Employees Constructively Engaged on Social Media

Every marketer or communications professional has been there. You want the employees to get involved with the company page. You want them to share, like, and comment on your posts as well as others in the industry. Your employees can be the best ambassadors for your brand on social media when they are actively engaged. However, there’s always that one rogue agent. The one that posts their super polarizing views or says something completely cringe-worthy. At best, maybe it’s a blip on the negative PR radar. Sometimes, it can go so far as to be a full-blown legal liability. So, how do you encourage people to post the right things – the things that will bring your company brand positive attention?

Having a company policy in place that identifies what is and is not acceptable in public forums is a great place to set up prevention on the front end. Here are some commonly used guidelines and policies to give to your employees that cover most bases when it comes to online posts:

DO share business-related, industry-specific content that provides value and represents the company appropriately. While your LinkedIn profiles are personal, what is shared on them can reflect on your company, especially if an association is prominently displayed. Share the company’s posts, events, and stories along with other business-related, industry-specific, or career-related content.

DON’T breach confidentiality. Don’t share things on social media that aren’t meant to be public. This might be common sense but unfortunately needs to be stated, nonetheless. This can extend to deals in the pipeline, HR changes, personal information about employees or customers, sensitive product information that has not yet been formally announced, or a myriad of other corporate issues.

DO remember to state that the opinions you post do not reflect the company. A straightforward ask like this minimizes the backlash against the brand if an employee has an inappropriate contribution to the online conversation.

DON’T share polarizing opinions. Many professional topics allow for a variety of views. In many industries, legislation, activism, and political perspectives can dominate the public conversation. If you’re representing your company, avoid posting highly controversial things. You never know who is reading and how their opinion might impact your future business. Avoid responses that could escalate tensions or reflect poorly on you or your company.

DO engage constructively. Treat everyone with respect. Be mindful of language and tone. Be wary of controversial or sensitive topics. If you address them, ensure your stance is well-researched, balanced, and respectful. Engage actively but thoughtfully.

DON’T escalate disagreements or respond with sarcasm. Respond to comments in a constructive and professional manner. Remember that disagreements can occur, but always maintain civility. Avoid “clap backs,” sarcasm, or any other form of response that could escalate tensions or reflect poorly on you.

DO stay informed and post relevant content. Stay updated with the latest trends in your industry. Share or engage with content that reflects current events and developments.

DON’T jump on every trending topic. Be cautious about jumping onto every trending topic. Ensure it’s relevant to your professional domain and contributes positively to the discussion.

DO share your affiliation with your company. We are proud to have you on our team, and we want you to be proud to be associated with our company. Follow the company social media channels to get a good idea of how we present ourself on social media and match that energy.

DON’T engage with competitors in an inappropriate way. Engaging with competitors inappropriately on social media can damage the company’s reputation, erode trust, and jeopardize professional relationships. It not only reflects poorly on you but can also escalate into unwanted public disputes, potentially harming the company’s brand image and its standing in the industry.

Properly navigating the social media landscape takes the right attitude and creating guidelines. Every employee at your company is a potential online ambassador for your company. With the right direction, these ambassadors can be stars, showing off the best your brand has to offer and driving positive traffic in your direction.

Not putting best practices and guidelines on how to represent your brand on social media can lead situations to spiral, overshadowing all the best parts of your brand. On the other hand, without guidelines, you risk missing out on genuine, impactful content from your employees that would have amplified your brand.

Crafting and enforcing a comprehensive corporate social media policy is not just a protective measure, but a proactive strategy to harness the power of your team in the digital space. Empower your employees to be the best they can be online and steer your brand to success.

***Laws are ever-evolving when it comes to the employer’s regulation of social media. We’re marketers, not lawyers, so please consult your lawyer for definitive answers to questions about the current laws. ***

Laura Cuttill Bio picture 2021

Laura Cuttill
Chief Marketing Officer

Laura A. Cuttill is a strategic and operational leader with a demonstrated ability to fuse business, financial, and technology interests into streamlined, profitable operations. Armed with a degree in marketing from Texas A&M University, Ms. Cuttill began her career in the Schlumberger Information Solutions department, working on identity management roll-out projects for Chevron and ExxonMobil.

In 2004 she joined Hal Green as a co-founder of Advertas, adding her organizational, analytical, and creative problem-solving skills to the team. In 2010 she left Advertas to co-found the identity management software company, 2FA, Inc. As COO / CMO for 2FA, she helped lead the company from concept to a 75% market share in target verticals for two factor authentication in four short years. After selling the business to Identity Automation in 2016, she returned to Advertas, continuing to support clients in the energy and process industries. She serves her clients with a unique vision of using cutting-edge software and marketing practices as a foundation to drive business growth.

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