We all know that marketers are a strange breed. I am also one of them. We are the people with the latest gadgets, following the newest trends and do the fun things in the company. So social media is like a gift from the gods. Every day a new tool or platform emerges. It is hard to keep up with the newest technologies. Never a sad day again!
We have also discovered that these social media fit our toolbox perfectly. We can get close to our customers; create more visibility for our company; built more interactive campaigns; and send out more messages to the world.
As marketers we know we have to listen to what is said about us. We soon find out that we are not alone sending out messages about our company, products and people. These messages also come from our co-workers. We get upset since we consider ourselves the only one that can speak in name of our company. We are losing control of the brand and it makes us furious.
Company management also have gotten the fact that people, including their own employees, are speaking about them. So they are requesting that a social media policy be created to guide the employees when using social media.
The job is often given to HR or IT to come up with such a policy. With a little bit of luck, marketing gets called to chip in (from my personal experience more and more). However, it freaks us out to live by all these rules. We feel caged by these rules and they limit our creativity.
Our skepticism stands in the way of us seeing how such a policy can actually help us turn these employees into great ambassadors. We keep on saying that there should be only 2 rules: “people have to use their good judgment” and “we are the only one to speak about the company”. But every day we see examples in the newspapers of how people are using their good judgment.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter blunders happen all over the world every day! We should really understand that we should contribute to a positive social media policy rather than fighting it.
I want to offer the marketers some advice I heard from some self help groups. We have to accept that there are things we can not change (loss of control of your brand); have the courage to change the things we can change (contribute to a policy); and have the wisdom to see the difference between these two (share our social skills to make our co-workers become our ambassadors).