No Tweeting While Working!

In today’s tweeting and Facebooking society it’s pretty much impossible to ban social media use among employees while on the clock. Face it: if you block it from company Internet access, they’ll either find ways around it or use their cell phones. The point is: people are going to check their Twitter and Facebook numerous times throughout their workday, whether the boss likes it (or even knows about it) or not.

 

So what can companies do to gain some sort of control over this matter? Allow it…but within certain specified guidelines that fit best within the organizational needs and expectations of the company. For example, many companies such as Best Buy and Coca-Cola have social media guidelines and training in place to ensure that when, as opposed to if, employees use social media that they do so in a way that doesn’t negatively impact their position within the company, as well as the company’s position within their respective market.

For a company like Best Buy, whose success one can argue largely relies on having an advantage over the competition, they would certainly want to monitor the information that anyone puts out regarding them so of course they’d keep close tabs on what their employees are saying.

However, for an organization such as the LA Times, they understand that their staff has their own voice and they genuinely want to allow them to express that but there still has to be some guidelines to ensure that the paper’s public image remains intact.

As long as there is a happy medium between the employees and company policymakers, I don’t see anything wrong with allowing employees to use social media.


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Instagram–My Latest Love

I remember about a year ago I saw a friend of mine post a picture on Twitter that had a really cool frame and I asked her how she was able to do that; she told me it was an app called “Instagram”. I instantly went to the app store to download it and fell in love! As a lover of photography, I was excited to have something new to spice up my pictures with and was even more excited to find out that there was a timeline feature to view other’s photos as well—something else to keep me even MORE glued to my iPhone everyday.

Instagram is basically a photo version of Twitter—people post photos of whatever they please throughout the day using the filters (or not) that comes with the app. The people you follow photo’s show up on a timeline, just like Twitter. Photos that get a certain number of likes make it to the popular page for the entire Instagram community to see, regardless if they follow or not. This is good, however, for people who wish to draw attention to themselves or their brand, product, service, etc. by gaining more exposure.

(A photo taken with the Nashville filter on Instagram)

Instagram has become wildly popular among the iPhone community (its only drawback thus far is that it is currently only available for iPhone users), and most brands, businesses, and organizations with a social media presence has an Instagram account now. In fact, an Instagram photo once appeared on the cover of the Wall Street Journal (read more here). Obviously they can benefit due to the number of users of the app, and it also lets the audience feel as if they are getting an exclusive insight about the organization…and we all love to feel important.

I think Instagram is good for organizations who allow for creative, visual communication of their messages which will quickly draw attention among Instagram users, who will more than likely spread the message to other social media platform, thus creating cross-exposure which is always great for anyone trying to promote something. 

To learn more about Instagram and to download visit their website.

Watch What You Tweet!

In a recent article published last month on ComPRehension, a PRSA blog, titled “12 Trends to Watch: 2012 Public Relations Forecast #PRin2012”, they listed predicted trends for PR in 2012. Among those listed was the trend of company talent acquisition going social; that is the company or organization’s use of social media as a tool to inform, recruit and communicate to and with potential prospects.

This trend comes on the wave of the continued use of social media as a professional networking tool for job seekers, and employers are being encouraged to capitalize on this trend to expand their HR efforts. With almost all major corporations, organizations and businesses now having some form of social media, whether it be Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc., many people have opted to use social media as a means of networking with and reaching out to potential employers at a much quicker and easier way than the traditional email and phone contact; which could easily be ignored.

Using social media as a platform for communication between potential employers and employees is unique and powerful because it allows for instant, two-way feedback, more personal and tailored communication and it allows the seeker to stay up to date with the happenings of the business or organization right at their fingertips. This may attract more potential employees as some may learn or discover things they never knew about a particular company, as well as eliminate anyone who may have previously thought the company was a fit for them but learned more information that tells them otherwise; eliminating wasted time and resources for both parties.

However, this trend cannot reach its full level of effectiveness if the company does not have a trained person or staff of people whose role is to directly manage its social media efforts. Updating accounts on a regular basis, with relevant and captivating information for its audiences is key in this managing effort. Of course, it may take a while to respond to every inquiry received on a social media site, it is necessary to respond to and follow up with every one of them. People will stop tweeting, retweeting and sharing information about a company if they feel like their input is not valued, and this is especially important for potential employees to feel as it will create the beginnings of a positive relationship should further opportunities arise.

I think that the PRSA is right on target with this trend as I and most of the people I know use some form of social media as a professional networking tool. On that token, I also think it is extremely important for those who wish to take advantage of this to be VERY careful and aware of the presence they have online. It has become standard for a potential employer to Google a prospects name and research his or her tweets, Facebook profile and anything else they have related to them on the internet so having personal and professional accounts would be the smartest way to ensure that there will be nothing damaging that shows up in the results.

In short, WATCH WHAT YOU TWEET!

(Note: The PRSA published a follow-up article, expanding more on this specific trend and can be read here.)

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