Businesses and Employees: Boundaries in Social Media
This week I’ve been watching a favorite restaurant do their own social media. Normally I love seeing people at least try these tools on their own, even if they do it wrong, but in this case it is making me cringe. What are they doing wrong, you ask?
1) Forcing their employees to get personal accounts on a variety of social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and more. This is uncool for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that social media use is a very personal choice for people, and not the right choice for everyone.
2) Forcing these employees to then a) give the account info to customers for connecting in addition to the company account info, instead of just giving folks access to the company accounts and b) to use their personal accounts to promote the company. No, no, no. This is all kinds of not ok!
3) Requiring password access to the employee accounts. Employees – do not give your employer access to your personal account this way. Stand your ground. By giving the employer or employer’s representative this kind of access you essentially allow them to impersonate you at will on social networks, if they are especially evil, and to see your private interactions and info if they are somewhat less evil. Even if they have it and never use it, really – how can you think this is ever ok? Defend your space and your right to a personal life separate from your workplace.
Companies, you have no right to require your employees to use social media, much less to use it in their own name then to promote you. That crosses a line. It violates boundaries, breaks laws, and in some cases enables cheating on social networks, among other things.
Personal accounts are none of the business of the… business as long as the employee doesn’t defame them, and it should be the employee’s choice to represent the company in that venue and not be required to be used for the company.
Instead, simple employee guidelines should be in place as part of the company employee manual for those who do have personal social accounts how to represent the company should they CHOOSE to do so and how to handle disgruntled ex employees and other issues, and employees should be given posting access to the main company profiles and instructed to post using their initials under the company umbrella instead.
Companies if you’d like help navigating the tricky waters of bringing employees online and having them help man the official company accounts, reach out for it. But for pete sake don’t invade your employees’ lives just to make a buck. It’s actually worse than automating social using tools like PAL, and you all know how I (and your customers) feel about soulless automation.