Why You Need to Let Employees Blog and Participate in Social Media

As a member of HARO (Help a Reporter Out), I came across a pitch where a writer was looking for opinions and experiences for a story on “Why people like working for your company.” This made me think of the opposite—how bad is your company’s reputation? Do your employees hate the place or love it?

And it’s not just your “word-on-the-street” reputation you need to consider—it’s your online reputation as well. Those with a bad reputation more than not don’t allow or invite employees to participate in employee blogs and social media.

Dare to Answer!

I thought of some questions you, as a CEO or manager, could ask yourselves to help answer the question on why you should allow employee participation:

Do your employees participate in your social media venues? By this I mean do they post on your company’s Facebook page (do they even “like’ it), or send tweets on your Twitter account or “pin” interesting stuff to your Pinterest boards? Do they have you in their circles on Google+?  If not, it may be they’re so unhappy with the work environment they don’t want to participate. Or, they may fear reprisals if they do. And finally, maybe you are not leading your team to participate in the right way. Putting the “fear” in them is not the right way to gain their trust; i.e., “like us, post, tweet or else!”

If they aren’t participating in social media are they slamming the company via their personal Twitter and Facebook accounts? If you hear (or read) through the grapevine an employee or even a former employee is tweeting or posting negative comments about the company have you asked yourself why? Is it because your reputation is so bad? Is the work environment run like a Nazi camp? Be honest here.

Do you include your employees in a community sort of forum within your blog, website or social media venues where they can participate? Do you ever mention employee accolades or achievements on your website, blog or Facebook Page? Employees want to see their names, written words and ideas on the website and blogs of their employers! And, by offering access, you are reaching out to a larger customer audience—their friends and family members.

Get with the Program

IBM offers a good employee (and customer) blog. One important element in allowing employees to blog or post on social media venues on behalf of the company is to establish some rules and of course someone to monitor these posts—of course this can be done by the people in charge of social media and blogging for the company.

Both IBM and Empowered offer good employee and social media policies employees sign off on and agree to adhere to; so it’s not so hard to allow the employees to express ideas or thoughts and have a little fun on your company’s blog, website or social media accounts.

How to Get Started

Most companies large and small have at least a website and a Facebook Page. Start by coming up with your own blogging and social media employee guidelines based on your industry—or let Don’t Have Time to Write aid you in this process.

Next create an employee web page dedicated to blog posts; you can allow employee access or have employees submit their posts to your blogger / social media producer. Monitor what they post and comment on their posts—even if it’s just to say Happy Birthday or awesome fish you caught last weekend. Photos and images are a must allow for corporate employee blogs.

 For example, your human resources staff should be able to tell you the date of each employee’s birthday (you don’t have to give the year) and even other information such as a new baby, wedding anniversary, vacation trips, etc.

Finally, employee blogs and social media posts from happy and engaged employees with community news and events should be allowed—like the local little league or high school sports team—even their favorite professional sports teams. What’s wrong with your customers seeing that little Linda, daughter of your employee Mary won the local gymnastics event? Try not to limit too much but err on the side of caution by hiring a great social media monitoring team.

If you think your company’s online reputation is bad, it probably is so why not start allowing employees to participate. Make sure to incorporate some guidelines and contribute back to their posts.

Here at Don’t Have Time to Write we’d love to help you get started and if you don’t have a dedicated company blog or want to set up an employee only blog, contact us and let us show you how we can help.

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