Good Social Media Use and Policy Starts From Within

Throughout this year, I have watched as companies continue to scramble to get onto the Social Media bandwagon, with business owners fretting over how to do it and, in many cases, how it works. It is interesting to watch some companies try and find contractors and consultants to walk them through the process and get all the tools in place, spending time and money on the infrastructure and planning, but almost no time thinking about the execution. Some try and do it themselves, while others hand the keys over to an employee and say “get us Likes and Followers”.

The latter is the right idea; it’s just that the execution is wrong.

The only people who know your brand or product better than you are the people that work for you. This does not mean, however, that your assistant who spends his / her lunch hours surfing through Facebook is the ideal candidate to take over the reigns of the corporate Social Media accounts, but it is a place to start.

Tapping The Internal Well

While it is still a good idea to go outside of your company to hire a Social Media strategist or developer, it is always a good idea to start from within. Not to get that kid from the mail room to start building accounts and profiles, but rather to identify those people from within your company that appear to be social media savvy.

A good Social Media consulting company will help you with a few key things, such as identifying the Social Media platforms that will get you the maximum visibility to your market and helping you set up those tools and platforms properly. One thing they can also help you to do (as long as you remember to ask) is to help you identify and train those employees within your own company on how to work with and manage those tools and apps being set up.  While some companies will offer to manage everything for you, it can never replace the knowledge your own staff has about the company, product or service you are sharing in the stream.

The Best Policy is to Have One

Whether you are going to hire an outside consultant to manage the development of your Social Media presence, or even if you decide that you are going to brave the waters on your own, the very best thing you can do is to create a Social Media policy for your management and staff to learn and understand.

A good Social Media policy is not one that reads like something brought down from the mountain saying “Thou Shalt Not Tweet Bad News”. A good policy is one that follows some very simple steps that everyone can understand when representing the company or brand online, in an official or unofficial capacity. Simple ground rules that help the company ownership hold peace of mind when handing over the digital reigns of the company to an employee (or contractor, for that matter).

Build the Awesome

At the end of the day, nurturing the talent within your own company is never a bad thing. Offering training in new things that help employees do their jobs better helps build confidence in their abilities (for both you and them). Social Media is about being genuine, and a happy and knowledgeable employee from within is always better than an outside contractor with no skin in the game.

Some tips to remember when searching out the employee that best fits your need to hire from within;

  1. Get into using Social Media, personally. If you can’t see how they handle their own social media, how will you know if they can handle yours?
  2. Put out a staff questionnaire, asking what forms of Social Media they use, how often and why.
  3. Watch who uses Social Media in the work place. The person who uses it frequently but is still productive, is a great potential candidate. (hint: time management)
  4. The employee who calls themselves a “Social Media Expert”, isn’t.

Sean Smith

Sean is Managing Partner in, a Social Media consulting company based in Campbell River, BC. Sean has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry, from a HelpDesk Manager to business owner. In 2009, Sean started focusing on the world of Social Media, something he had been learning about since jumping into Facebook in 2006 and Twitter in 2008. Since then he has consulted on the development of Social Media strategies for a wide variety of businesses, from retail to tourism, and has been guest speaker for numerous business events.

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