A brand is more than just a product, or a service, or a combination of the two. Your brand is a cumulative thing. It’s the effect of everything your employees say and do, as well as the experience your customers or your end users have with your products and services. In an increasingly connected world, then, your brand becomes more and more the accumulated product of what you do online.
The social media revolution has changed the way that we do business; and it’s changed the way that we contact our friends and associates. Indeed, so deeply rooted is the power of social media that the lines between business and personal lives have become so blurred the sensible brand is already combining the two to its advantage.
Simply put: your employees have a wider online existence than as “official” representatives of your brand – which means they can be used to advocate that brand in a much wider and more effective sense than only when they are at work.
If someone performs an internet search relevant to your brand, it may return multiple social media pages as well as your “traditional” website. If someone performs a search for a specific employee name, their social media profile is likely to return in the top results on the page.
Employee social media profiles, then, have a direct impact on the way searchers and the public perceive your brand. As the lines between private and public blur, comments made by your employees on their own social media streams, may impact the public perception of your brand: at whatever time and in whatever context those comments are made.
To give you an example: if an employee of yours makes an apparently derogatory comment, even in jest, about a person in their social circle, and this comment is taken as an insult by one of your customers: what do you do? Or if your employee is posted in pictures and video that could be seen as damaging to your brand, where do you hide?
Of course, the answer is that you don’t hide – instead, you train your employees to use social media in a brand-responsible way. This means knowing how to be public and how to be private on socially oriented profile pages, like Facebook pages; and knowing how to build professional relationships using business-oriented social media sites like LinkedIn.
The brand that provides social media training to its employees to maximise their social media presence is a brand that creates a positive impression for both brand and business – wherever it may be seen. By learning how to behave on social media, and understanding how to use their social media pages safely and securely, your employees begin to act as exemplars for brand values. It’s similar to the idea of how a pupil behaves while wearing a school uniform. Whenever you had on that tie and blazer, you were beholden to act in a manner that would uphold the reputation and image of the institution at all times.
We live in a transparent world – and our employees can be assisted with the provision of social media training to know how to act professionally online.