Words, Ideas, Stuff
Some ideas and thoughts, captured with the view to help you.
One of the super grey areas in today’s tech driven world is - how does social media fit with our personal brands, and with that of our employer* brands?
(*employer and workplace can be interchanged with causes you volunteer for, committees or groups you’re part of etc)
Society today is diverse, we move towns, countries and companies faster than ever before, which means (thankfully) workplaces today are (hopefully!) more diverse. Not only do diverse workforces include people of different ages, cultures and races, they will also include diversity of thought (hurrah!). That usually means that thought diversity may well include a wide range of views on the use of, and opinions on, social media personally and for business, or while at work.
While the definition of ‘at work’ is now more varied than ever (compare the ‘workplace’ of a park ranger with that of an entrepreneur!), the only sense-check should be with that of your employer. The entity that pays your salary, that you have agreed to perform certain tasks and duties for, is the only view that matters as that’s the one that could land you in hot water if you unintentionally breach the policies. A heads up — it might be different to your own view so it does pay to check).
Initiating the conversation, being proactive about checking what their view is, is a safe guard for you so you don’t inadvertently cross a line or share a trade secret while using tools and tech you enjoy. Check with the company and your manager on their policy and preferences for using social while at work and what content may/may not be shared via social networks — some companies greatly encourage their crew to share their own work, insights and work stories online, others will be at the other end of the scale.
There’s a lot of chat about the risks of social at work, certain industries are of course more focused on protecting their ideas, IP and privacy, so do consider this. If you’ve not come across this before, here’s the view many organisations and entities have — social activity, however innocent it may seem, can impact the brand and reputation, and scary to note that some hackers use social intel to aid criminal activity. So you can see why it’s a big deal for many brands!
Businesses need good social media policies to manage risk, and in 2017, it was reported that the Marsh Directors’ Survey of Risk shows that “62% of respondents expect the increasing influence of social media will affect their business over the next 12 months. It ranked ahead of other risks such as problems with talent attraction and retention.” So it’s likely on the radar of the organisation, and if it’s not, it should be!
If you think the policy is outdated or there’s not one, you can be a change maker and evaluate what the up and downside could be, and shape a new view. Be sure to include what content is and isn’t okay to share, and what to do if the proverbial shxt hits the fan!
When looking at examples of policies, GAP’s one is always touted, Hire Rabbit is reported to say:
While we’re chatting about GAP (pls note this is not an endorsement, nor is Careering in any way affiliated with them) but through doing our research we know they also have some great content on their careers section that aligns perfectly with the messages in this book about knowing, and asking for, your worth. So here’s another excerpt from them …
“IT’S OBVIOUS WHEN 21% OF YOUR OUTFIT IS MISSING. BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN 21% OR MORE OF YOUR PAYCHECK IS MISSING?
That’s the reality for most women across the U.S. who earn, on average, 79 cents to every dollar men make.
And for non-white women, it can be even worse — African American women, on average,
earn 60 cents compared to every dollar men make, and Latina women earn approximately 55 cents.
Many millennial women don’t think the gender pay gap applies to them.
But even if you’re a woman at the start of your career, statistics show that the gender pay gap is likely to impact you.
This is concerning — especially because the pay gap widens as you progress through your career.”
While their research is US based, there’s a lot of merit to it and the insights do reflect global trends. You can read more here and complete their calculator which shows you just how much money you stand to lose over the course of your career if you’re paid that 21% less (the US average is $450,000 less than male equivalents. That’s an apartment in Auckland, or a mansion in Westport! While your circumstances may differ, we just wanna say that equal pay for an equal day’s work just makes sense.
Anywho, back to social. Social media can be a powerful tool, especially for businesses that embrace and channel everyone’s enthusiasm. Hubspot data shows that content shared from employee’s personal social accounts about the brand or entity, can achieve 8x more engagement. Reebok have really embraced this - check out their #fitasscompany content.
The trick to making this work for your startup, community or company is to be clear about the same things mentioned above: Be sure to include what content is and isn’t okay to share, and what to do if the proverbial shxt hits the fan! It’s also great if you can drive a campaign to get everyone sharing the content, and track it with a hashtag like Reebook did.
When it comes to social media and the workplace, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ sorry. It all comes down to what’s appropriate for you and for the organisation, and for the situation. Safety and commonsense must come first, and this quote sums it up quite well what we mean here (excuse the language):
“Behind him, he heard Ronan say, "I like the way you losers thought Instagram before first aid. F**k off.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, Blue Lily, Lily Blue.