As marketers, we often suggest utilizing the online presence and social skills of employees to spread the brand’s message. While this is certainly a worthwhile tactic, we must be careful about who we befriend online. There are three questions that you should be asking yourself before initiating that virtual friendship.
- Is this person reliable and trustworthy?
- Will this virtual connection help the company, or might it cause harm?
- Is this a personal- or professional account?
There are a number of reasons why you want that person to be trustworthy before making the connection online. For one thing, you don’t want anything posted to your professional page, or in any way connecting to the brand that could be harmful. Unfortunately, people don’t always think about who they are connect with before they post content. Worse yet, on some social networks, that person can post to your page or tag you in that content once a connection is established. And, there might just be some things that you don’t want to know about how that person behaves outside of the office.
A connection with an employee can be very beneficial to the company, if that person has built a substantial audience, and conducts him- or herself in a respectable manner online. This connection could actually boost the reach of your posts and help you get your brand established online. However, if that person is a volatile employee, likely to leave on bad terms, or someone who regularly showcases questionable judgement, your brand would be better off without the connection.
The decision of whether or not to make the connection will very likely be different if you are operating a professional account versus a personal account. A personal page should be reserved for connections that you want to share in your personal opinions, photographs, and stories. In most cases, it is best to avoid coworker and employee connections on a personal social media account.