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Manage Your Marketing: Your Employees Now Represent You Online

8368117029_72a2ab00dd_mWhat do you care about this “social media stuff” anyway? Your company isn’t involved in it. You checked to see if there was any “buzz” about you and your products. Nothing. So who cares about tweeting and Facebooking and whatever that Pin thing is? It’s not impacting you. You’re not using it for marketing. You’re not using it for customer service. Who cares? Right?

Well, you might want to reconsider that position at least a little bit. Here’s the problem that you might not be thinking about.

On Facebook especially, it’s really easy to note where you work. In fact, Facebook begs you to fill out fields in your “about” section regarding where you went to school and all of the places you’ve worked. That’s how you build networks on the social media platform, after all. People also tend to mention where they work on their Twitter bios, and your Twitter bio can be picked up on other platforms that connect to your Twitter account. A person can carry their workplace with them pretty much anywhere they go online.

Now let’s think about everyone who works at your company. How many of them have Facebook pages? How many of those Facebook pages mention your company? Maybe they even “check in” to your company every day when they get into work. Let’s say one, just one of the people at your company, is having a rough time of it for whatever reason. Maybe their shift got longer. Maybe they’re arguing with management about something. There are a million reasons why people complain about their jobs or complain about their bosses, right? What if that person keeps complaining about your company day after day? What if they keep talking about how terrible it is to work for your company and how everyone in your company thinks your customers are stupid?

Are you starting to see a problem here? And that’s just one potential person. What if 200 people work in your company? What if you work with a company that has outposts around the world? You could end up with an awful lot of people creating negative buzz about your company and what your company does. And all of that negative buzz could be coming from within your own walls.

Whether you like to think about it or not, if your employees or co-workers have a social media presence in which they mention where they work, they are now representing your company online. They are part of your branding effort. They are part of your marketing strategy. Do you know what they are saying? Do you know how they are presenting you?

This is a tough issue that we don’t hear a lot of companies dealing with – at least not yet. You might feel hesitant about the concept of monitoring what your employees say online. Isn’t that a breach of privacy? You might not have the time or inclination even if you feel you do have the right. So what can you do?

One easy step that is perpetually overlooked is to incorporate everyone in your company into the branding statement that you all work by. There should be an overall understanding of what your company is about from top to bottom, and you should work on creating a culture where everyone buys into that mission statement and is proud of it.

It’s also important to remember an adage that is quickly catching fire. Your employees will treat your customers the way they are treated. If you’re a manager of employees, do your best not to give them excuses to gripe, or at least create an environment where they wouldn’t want to air dirty laundry on the public internet. If you’re a co-worker, do your best to build up your peers. If everyone is pushing towards the same goal, and if everyone is supporting each other, there won’t be all that much to complain about online or anywhere else.

These may seem like Pollyana-like goals. The bottom line to remember, however, is that the people in your company very probably are using some type of social media platform, and it’s highly possible they are using that platform to talk about their work. What do you want that message to be? It’s a very new kind of marketing, and it does not seem to be getting much attention.

Maybe it should.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cizauskas/8368117029/ via Creative Commons

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5 comments on “Manage Your Marketing: Your Employees Now Represent You Online

  1. Great post Margie — very important, like you said, especially for those organizations that possibly see less value in social media. Get them to understand some of the risks of not signing on with social media first, then possibly talk about benefits.

  2. Good points! Another concern is the unauthorized sharing of customer images (especially for a B2B) proprietary systems, and personal employee information.

  3. Yes, yes, and YES. I agree – this should be talked about more. Even if a company doesn’t have branded social media profiles, every business still has to think about this. Sticking your head in the sand is NOT a good approach.

  4. Margie –

    If you are a boss, this is all the more reason to treat your employees well. Not only will they like you and be more productive, but they will speak well of you and your company.

    Grassroots marketing is the most powerful marketing there is.

    Cheers,
    Marc

  5. […] staff should be aware of and on board with your company’s branding statement and mission. Everyone at your company now represents your company. While it is essential that everyone at your company understand what they are working towards, it […]

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