How can using social media as an employee help my company?

planning to use social mediaLet’s say you’re not looking for a job. You’re happy in your company, so why build a personal brand through social media? Why expand your Linkedin profile beyond an out-dated online resume? Here are just a few reasons building your personal brand can support the goals of your company in any industry.

Professional development and networking with peers
What industry is your company in? You’ll find a community of other people working in that very same space participating in social media somewhere. Do a search on Social Mention to find blogs, forums, discussions on Twitter or other micro-blogs. Once you find out where the people you want to talk to are you can create a strategy to build your brand.

Make your company look good
Your company has the best and brightest in the industry right? Why hide your lights under a bushel? Build a brand–along with your co-workers–that makes the company a magnet for other great thinkers and/or customers. Show the world your company is forward thinking and supports it’s staff in their own personal development.

Recruiting
Get to know peers who might want to join your team. Who is the smartest in your community of practice? If they’re not looking for a new position they probably know someone who is. The more your network grows the more valuable it is to your company.

Research and Development
Keep an eye out for questions around your industry for 3 main reasons.

  • Learn about issues with your own products or the products of a competitor and put the fires out before they get big
  • Look for questions about features your customer base would like to see and be the first to bring it to market
  • Be the go-to person for answers in your area of expertise. Search out questions you can help with
  • Locate peers to talk about innovations in your sphere of interest, build a community of practice around those interests

About your brand
This is about building your personal brand, but if you mention your company in your social stream then you are representing the company. Look to your corporate social media guidelines to see how best to proceed. Be transparent about your relationship with the company, and in particular do not pretend you don’t work for a company and then talk up it’s products or services. At best it’s misleading and at worst it’s fraud.

Also be professional, friendly and helpful. If you can help somebody in a bind that reflects well on you as a person and on the company by extension. Same goes true if you are mean, hateful or just post that picture of yourself at a toga party. If you wouldn’t show it to your boss, don’t put it out there.

Common Sense
Be careful of course about disclosing information that is not already public. If you’re working on a super secret project that you wouldn’t mention on TV don’t put it out on social media either. If your company has a social media policy, understand it before you start. If they don’t have one, get proactive and help them complete one. Here’s a great resource at Social Media Governance with tons of them you can riff off of to develop something for your own company.

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