Social media networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are fast becoming a popular vehicle to deliver the company’s message, and highlight products and services.
Yes, social networks are powerful. It’s inexpensive and very easy to learn and when done right, establishing a social media account can give your organization a real advantage in your company’s business niche and increase your bottom line. But there are challenges – and these challenges are cropping up like the proverbial weed in the workplace.
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The Case of PhoneDog
An employee of the mobile phone review site PhoneDog, built over 17,000 followers using a Twitter account that was set up to promote the services of PhoneDog. When the employee left the company, he kept the Twitter fan base created while managing the account. The employee simply changed his screen name and continued to use the same account. PhoneDog sued over the issue. PhoneDog and the former employee eventually settled; but the settlement included the employee being able to keep the over 17,000 followers amassed while employed with PhoneDog.
Any organization with a social media presence needs to have social media policies in place that clearly describes your company’s expectations of employees who create or manage the organization’s social media accounts. The policies should clearly spell out who actually owns the account, why the account is being set up and what the account should be used for. You’ll also need to spell out what happens to the account(s) if the employee managing the social media networks should leave the organization. It can’t hurt to hire an employment lawyer, or, utilize the expertise of your HR professional to create your social media policy.
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