We all know how much Social Media platforms are used these days not just in business but in our personal lives.
I am sure for the majority of people there will be Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Flikr, YouTube etc.
Many businesses now employ people to manage their social media visibility or share the task between a number of employees. But, how do you manage the cross over between 'business' and 'personal' connections?
I have been told on a number of occasions that people are finding it hard to control how far a member of staff takes the 'connections' with current and potential clients / contacts and have found that they are not just connecting with them as a business but from their own personal accounts.
One of the main concerns is that if / when that member of staff leaves their employment, what can you do to ensure that they disconnect from their contacts / clients.
Through working and supporting with Social Media as part of their role they have also been able to build up their own network, preparing their own ready made network of contacts for future needs.
The other issue that seems to come forward a lot is, How do you control that personal contact when out of hours? There seems to be a lot of banter that happens and I have to be honest from what I have heard, a lot of relationship building that is not of a business context.
This can be detrimental to a company as it really does paint the business and their owners in a very different light.
Here are a few suggestions:
Have a clause written in your employment contracts that states The use of social media platforms to connect with contacts / clients of the business is not permitted and further action will be taken if this is not adhered to.
Only permit the use of your business social media accounts to be used by members of staff with no cross promotions etc.
If on leaving their position in your company, that you spot they are connected to your contacts / clients, request that they disconnect from those people and if this is not carried out then further action will be taken.
Stress to all employees the importance of maintaining that divide between personal and business connections. And the importance for a company's reputation and growth.
If any 'other business' and by this I mean if a conversation goes further than just general chitchat to flirtatious conversations from both parties involved, then this could be seen to be a situation which could end in written warning and even dismiss.
If you can afford it, why not outsource your Social Media that way you are taking the risk away and freeing time to focus on other tasks.
If you are still unsure then take some legal advice from your solicitor.
At the end of the day, if you employ people you have to be very clear on where the revenue starts and ends when it comes to Social Media and you have to safe guard your business and reputation.
It is as simple as that … No cross over at all.