The running gag about Twitter, mostly from those who’ve never used it, is that it’s only used for people to tweet about things like what they had for breakfast. While it is true that people sometimes tweet about their breakfast, it is also quite common for people to use Twitter as a referral engine — especially for businesses with which they’ve established a rapport. And one of the best ways for your business to establish a rapport with other Twitter members is to allow your staff to publicize their association with your brand on Twitter.
You might be thinking, “If I allow my staff to tweet, they’ll never get any work done.” The reality is, your staff are probably already tweeting — and sometimes they’re tweeting at work, whether you’re aware of it or not. Giving your staff permission to tweet from their personal accounts at work is a perk that conveys trust and respect toward your employees. They will likely reciprocate and willingly tweet positive things about your business. Remember, a happy employee is a productive employee, and sometimes non-monetary incentives are an effective way to boost company morale.
Establish a Twitter Policy at Work
By definition, your employees’ personal Twitter accounts are their own. Beyond the existing freedom of speech laws, you can’t control what an employee tweets from his or her personal account, nor should you. For tweets that occur at work, however, establish a Twitter policy for your employees. Don’t focus on what’s forbidden. Take a more positive approach and focus instead on what’s permitted.
For example, let your employees know that they can tweet about your business, upload images of the workplace, and so on. Encourage your employees to tweet positively about your business. Let them know that if they feel the need to tweet negatively, that they can address these issues with management at any time. Allow employees the freedom to tweet about non-business related issues too — as this represents the best opportunity for employees to genuinely engage with other Twitter members (who one day might be your customers).
In return for the freedom to tweet at work, you might ask your employees to include a reference or a link to your business in their Twitter bios. That way, when new followers engage with a staff member, they will naturally associate that employee with your business. The net effect is that your business becomes more human in the eyes of its target audience — which is the goal of a good social media policy policy in the first place.
It’s a Brave New World
It’s understandable if you have some trepidation about opening up the Twitter floodgates to your employees at work. But the gates have already been opened. Social media adoption is growing at a phenomenal rate, and it shows few signs of stopping.
People engage with businesses on Twitter because they want to get to know the people behind the brand. Given the right opportunity, some of your biggest potential advocates are those who are already most familiar with your brand — your employees. Why not give them the freedom to merge their personal personas with their work personas through the power of Twitter?
Do you permit your employees to tweet at work? Has the experience been positive or negative? Let us know and you could be featured in a future Twitter Tip Tuesday article.