Social Media. A self PR or a company media channel?
Do you follow a CEO or a company on social network?
That is the question I ask to myself, when a CEO himself promoting a new product. I will not comment the ability of self-reflection of "actors" in short movies, what various CEOs presenting in social media environment. I comment the situation, with difficulties to read the message behind. Is it a company / product promotion or the main post purpose is a self promotion of the manager?
When company develop a new product, the marketing team is trying to find a best and more efficient way how to bring the product closer to customers. Nowadays social media represent communication channel what can massively catch the target audience with relatively low costs. Initially companies established a company accounts on social media to promote their products and services via these accounts as a part of their marketing strategy. Usually there is also connection to callcentre with the responsibility to steer and manage comments of followers as well as to solve potential complains.
In case of managers self PR, the situation is, let me use the word "strange". I have noticed interesting fact. In the beginning of the manager account activation, there exists active communication among the followers and the author. Later on, the account is steered either by "one way" posts from the author or even by the PR responsible of the manager's account. Once account followers reach number of hundreds or even thousands, missing communication occurs and comments+questions remain without author reactions. Sure - from the pragmatic reasons. Usually followers / friends / connections try to use the channel for their natural purposes as service offerings, complains, proposals etc. Managers are not able to react and the account starts to suffer. According to me, that's the issue managers have not wished initially.
Frankly speaking, the biggest problem I see in managers posts - the brand perception harming. In this case I mean both brands:
1/ A manager name as a authority, who is not able to react on comments link to respective company
2/ A company brand representing by the respective manager.
Let me give you an example of EMPLOYEE BRAND account and BRAND itself account.
Imagine a BRAND company is promoting some service or product. Customers, visitors naturally react and callcenter team should manage the wishes, reactions or even complains, to keep the certain level of the customer satisfaction in combination with positive BRAND perception. There are many of systems tracking the BRAND accounts and managing the content and reaction solutions. In the end, there is a callcenter guy who has certain KPIs connected to his work description... and most probably receiving a fines for passivity to avoid a negative BRAND perception.
EMPLOYEE BRAND account
Imagine a EMPLOYEE account, publicly a personal account, but usually representing the same BRAND. Every single employee promoting the products sometimes absolutely without a connection to the marketing strategy of the BRAND. No content control in many cases.
In case of CEO's post, content is managed and steered by PR experts, but the reaction on his post are absolutely forgotten and live own virtual life full of disinformation.
The point for deep thoughts is that contrast of the official BRAND social media channel professional care in comparison with sometimes even more followed "personal" account of the BRAND's CEO.
That was the one side of the issue.
Let's focus on the compliance point of you.
All modern corporates have strict governmental and compliance rules. In larger scale even departments of several members setting up and managing given rules. The compliance rule should, among others, protect the company against conflicts of interest in basic principles.
Majority of employees cannot utilise a membership to particular company for their private benefits.
From the compliance perspective a manager's social network account is enormous benefit enhancing the manager's brand on the account of the company. Just imagine and compare two cases:
1/ Employee take his company car and use it in private time as Bolt taxi. There would be immediate punishment from the employer side and would be a typical breach of the compliance rule.
2/ Employee getting tens thousands followers on the social network due to the fact of the high management position in international well known company. Based on that he benefits on many of ordinary incentives of partners companies.
The question is, where is the edge being compliant and where you are behind the compliant rule?
Being successful and leading a large international company give usually ordinary benefits to their managers, even in ages when social network did not exist.
Should be social network behaviour tracked and regulated?
Reading posts of top managers, especially in EU social network environment, giving me a hint, there will come soon a new strict regulation in the air of socials.
In order to prevent some public or governmental restrictions I was thinking about that phenomenon. I offer 5 basic advices for a social media management in companies, to secure a social network basic principle in connection with company values ownership...
1/ Social media company rules
Social media should be ordinary communication channel of the company steered and controlled by the marketing or PR department of the respective company. All with given responsibility, especially with focus on relevance of published information and communication with followers.
2/ Employee role
All employees can share the official company announcement/post with source of the information to secure later comments management from the audience. For sure there should be a rule defining the border between a company value and independency of every single social network user.
3/ Role of company management should not differentiate from other employees role
4/ CEO or owner of the company
Logically, CEO or owner of the company can decide about the strategy of social network usage and link it to his name/brand. There should not be forgotten the necessity of the followers comments management and reaction on topics which can occur on every single post. Otherwise shared post can have negative effect.
5/ Meaning of the posts, basic purpose
In my eyes, the purpose of the post should be clear. I post just the comments/articles valuable for somebody according to my meaning. I work on my name/brand and differentiate myself from the mainstream also via social network. Those are my d!fain and Dan Vrána values and brands.
As manager belonging to certain corporate society, I would strictly propose to promote products, services and people behind them as the motivation tool steered by HR and PR/marketing department. I would avoid to prioritise my name on the account of the company I am part of.