Most of your staff will undoubtedly be active on social media and have profiles scattered around the web, but how could their private behaviour online be affecting the business that employs them?
Behaviour online is never private, and many people seem to forget this quite easily. The internet, especially social media, is unforgiving. Once you press post, tweet or submit you can easily lose control over your content and removing it can often prove impossible.
Where it goes wrong
Employees connecting to clients on their private social media pages are an obvious risk, unless the platform in question is solely used for work purposes and the employee is careful about every action they take.
On Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, most of us are not so careful. We may post strong opinions on a hot topic or political issue, or we may want to post a couple of pictures of a night out. Another problem is others posting comments, tagging and mentioning your employees in posts or tweets that could be offensive or off-putting in any way. The employee may have been careful, but their friends weren’t.
The opinion a client has on your brand is interlinked with the opinion they have of the employees they interact with. Especially for smaller businesses, in the event an employee posts content which your client’s do not agree with or deem to be offensive, they are putting the reputation of your company in jeopardy. Employees that are not engaged with your brand are often more likely to make these types of errors.
Using multiple accounts for multiple uses doesn’t make it any safer
Even for those who are smart enough to not mix business with pleasure, using one account for work such as LinkedIn, and a Facebook account for private use, information can still get out. It’s easy to find out where someone works when you look their name up on LinkedIn, and before you know it, whatever your employee said in private is linked directly to you.
The internet is forever and older content can always come back to haunt you - even if comments were made before you even considered employing the person that made such comments. This alone makes it necessary for any business to have clear rules regarding the use of social media of all employees, even for their personal use.
The obvious and the not so obvious
We have all heard the (quite entertaining) stories regarding employees posting about their bad bosses and horrible jobs, only to find themselves fired through the comment section moments after, but what about the real impact of these situations on prospected clients and other stakeholders?
Generally, when a person mouths-off about their employer or company on social media, people quickly stop paying attention and the message gets buried in the high mass of other posts in hours. Unless the negative words have foundation to them and a real reason for anger or annoyance, we often don’t pay as much attention as the writer was hoping for. However, those messages will be there forever and can pop up during searches of your brand in the future.
When there are multiple similar negative comments, it is unlikely you are going to win the best employer of the year award, and if the comments are part of a hot-topic debate, they could reach the media. You’d be surprised how quickly these things can escalate.
Negative reviews and comments left on directories and search pages have a much higher impact to your business. Reviews and comments can be left on Google and will show up forever on your search listings. Bad reviews can be left on Glassdoor, which could scare away potential future employees, or you could find that your business listing on Yell is forever tainted.
Sophie is a strong marketing professional graduated from the NIMA Institute for Marketing in 2015. As an experienced Marketing Manager she works with HR and employment law professionals to offer businesses within the UK the best possible services within the area of HR. Her passion is to provide services, advice and support to small and medium sized businesses with the goal to make them flourish. With great attention to detail and focus Sophie and her team have helped many businesses achieve their goals. PeoplePointHR provide HR solutions for businesses across the UK looking to outsource some or all of their HR activities. We are a team of highly motivated HR professionals and employment law experts who are passionate about creating the right solutions for your business so that you can spend more time on your core responsibilities.