Yesterday I talked a little about how social media has to be part of your companies DNA before you can really to take advantage of the phenomena’s full power.
One of these has to be the social media thread… – via flickr
But how can you encourage your staff to be social media evangelists for you and your company.
Never Ban a Website – There have been plenty of stories of companies and businesses who have banned Facebook and other similar websites from their staffs PCs.
It’s definitely a time drain, but that doesn’t mean it has no role in the workplace. It can enable conversation between you, your customers, your competitors and, to make use of a term much beloved by PRs, your stakeholders.
Treat your staff as individuals and let them have their own identity – Matt Cutts has really illustrated the power of personal blog to help his employers. But it’s not just restricted to Silicon Valley.[tag]Will McInnes[/tag] at NixonMcInnes, [tag]Tim Callington[/tag] for Edelmen and [tag]David Cushman[/tag] at my old employers EMAP are all doing an equally spectacular job, promoting their business with their personal social media pursuits.
Policy and Rules Stifle Creativity – Lots of companies have a corporate blog policy or rules about which conferences and social events their staff can attend.
Could guidelines like this cause anything other than anti-social behavior? Trust your staff; they are wise enough to know what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
If I’m ever planning on saying something controversial; I’ll run it by the others first because I value their insight, not because there is a document I signed when I started that tells me too.
Put Everyone on the Front Line – When Eloi started at SV we got him to write a blog piece in his first week. It was probably quite daunting (though he’ll never admit it) but we didn’t hide him away.
Your Blog or anywhere else you are participating online shouldn’t be reserved for only your most experienced staff. If you let people have this freedom they’ll thrive.
Eloi’s been with us six months and he already has already produced some of this blog’s most successful posts ever. (It’s even led to some friendly rivalry in the team to see who can attract the most traffic and comments, we might even introduce a Top Gear style leader-board in the new year)
Let them leave their desk – ironically the great ability to connect with people online works best if you use it too make real life connections.
I’ve heard of one search marketing agency that actively discourages their junior staff from attending search industry social and training events.
I don’t know whether it’s to avoid them getting poached or fear they won’t tow the company line, either way it’s extremely short sighted.
A business’s culture is hugely important, and if you can make social media part of that shared attitude you’ll find you’ll be far more successful.