Social Media and Your Business

June 22nd, 2012

If you have a job and want to keep it, there are few things you should know about social media use. If you’re running a business and want to continue doing so, these guidelines also apply to you, and you may even want to share them with your employees.

The Medical Director for the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media sums up wise social media policy in six words: Don’t lie, don’t pry. Don’t steal, don’t reveal. Don’t cheat. Can’t delete. This is most concise answer we’ve seen to the hundreds of social media questions we hear every day.

Social Media: A Helpful Tool, but Also a Potential Source of Trouble

If you’re an employee of any company, anywhere, keep your job in mind as you roam around on the internet. Before you post anything, even the most harmless images and comments, imagine how you’d feel if these comments crossed your boss’s desk. This happens far more often than you may realize. Your own boss may be curiously Googling your name right now. And every day, employees are fired from their jobs as a result of internet activity they assumed their employers would never see.

There’s no such thing as a “secret” blog. And anonymity will protect you perfectly until the day it doesn’t. Think about this before you disparage your boss or coworkers, and be cautious about praising or positively reviewing the products of your company’s competitors.

Social Media for Employers and Business Owners

If you’re a business owner, social media can get you into hot water for a different set of reasons. So to avoid this possibility, keep these simple tips in mind:

1. Be truthful. Don’t lie or make exaggerated or questionable claims on your website. If you make a negative remark about a competitor, be sure you can verify this remark or your intentions may backfire and your reputation may suffer.

2. Don’t pry. Never ask a candidate or existing employee for password access to any personal accounts. In fact, don’t include personal social media profiles in any aspect of your candidate screening process. Not only can this expose you to accusations of discrimination, it can also alienate talented candidates and drive them away.

3. Don’t steal. In other words, credit your sources. Don’t use images or quotes taken from any source without permission. If you can’t ask permission, repost the information only with a clear credit and a backlink to the original site. And be prepared to take the content down if the original creator requests. Just because you found something on the internet doesn’t mean it’s available. If you’d like to post high quality articles, blog content, or photos, hire writers and artists and pay them fairly. 

4. Don’t take risks with privileged information. This means don’t maintain databases with customer or employee addresses, phone contacts or credit card numbers unless you have strong security measures in place.

For more advice on developing a company social media policy, contact The Palmer Group, your Des Moines, IA staffing solution experts.

Using Your Social Media Page to Attract More– and Better– Applicants

November 25th, 2011

Does your company or organization have a webpage? In this day and age the answer is probably yes, as it should be. But does your company have a social media page? This is a different question, and the answer may be yes or no depending on your company mission and the target audience for your product or service.

The benefits of a webpage are clear, but the benefits of a Twitter feed or Facebook profile for you company may be less obvious. Companies that build and maintain active social media profiles do so for a long list of reasons that can be summarized as follows.

First, a social profile is free, and it can be a great way to build a marketing footprint and increase the odd chance that one of your messages or brand identifiers might go viral. Just by maintaining an active profile, you raise the number of eyes that fall upon your brand and mission every day. This can increase your customer base, and it can foster positive relationships with both customers and strategic partners.

Second, a social media profile can give your workplace a kind of identity, or personality. This can help you draw the attention of job seekers, especially during the current economic slowdown. The internet is a popular place to look for new opportunities and contacts, and there are plenty of excellent candidates clicking through cyberspace and maintaining online relationships in their search for promising new positions.

If you want these candidates to notice your post and be drawn to the prospect of applying, it can’t hurt to provide as much information as possible about the benefits of your workplace, your mission, and your culture. Building a social media following is equivalent to building a community. If candidates identify your logo with an appealing product, that’s good. Even better, you’ll attract a wide and appropriate pool of applicants if they identify your logo with a workplace persona. Warm, friendly, challenging, fast-growing, exclusive, flexible—whatever your workplace brand, social media gives you a chance to present it to a broad audience of well-connected and internet savvy applicants. If you decide to use your profile to expand your workplace brand, make sure you target the audience you’d most like to attract. Be clear about the nature of the position when you announce it on your profile, and make sure the tone of your posts and tweets is tightened to draw the candidates you need. Contact the Palmer Group for help with your online (and offline) staffing process.

How Your Social Media Profiles Can Help You Find a New Opportunity (Or Let One Slip Away)

November 11th, 2011

Even though it’s only been part of our culture for a few short years, there’s no question that social media has had a powerful impact on our lives. Social media profiles have radically altered the ways we find each other, make connections, and maintain relationships in an increasingly far-flung world. Our social media profiles tell others who we are, what’s going on in our lives, and what how we might be able to use our skills and connections to help those around us. We can also use Facebook and Twitter as powerful broadcasting tools to tell the world what we need and what we have to offer in exchange. All too often these days, what we need are jobs, and what we have to offer are valuable skills that are going unused and unshared.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are three of the best known (and therefore most useful) social media sites when it comes to announcing our needs and sharing our skills with a wide range of people who might be able to show us the path to waiting opportunities. If you’re looking for work and haven’t yet posted a profile on any of these, now may be a great time to start. Make sure your profile clearly expresses what you do and what you’re looking for, and make sure your contact information is complete and accurate.

But beware. For every advantage a social media profile provides, there are an equal number of drawbacks, especially for job seekers who use social media too much, too recklessly, or too exclusively.

Career information on your profile should be accurate, but avoid too much disclosure. On the one hand, you want your contacts to know that you’re looking for work, but on the other hand, you don’t want interested parties to have unrestricted access to questionable photos of you. Many great job opportunities come through social connections and many employers are reviewing Facebook and other social media sites as part of their hiring process, so make sure you are comfortable with having a potential employer see the content you have out on those sites. If your friend’s uncle turns out to be a hiring manager looking for a potential candidate, you may want to make sure your Facebook privacy settings are in order before he skims your page.

Also, while you’re keeping your photos professional and your privacy settings intact, don’t lean too heavily on social media during your job search process. In fact, don’t lean too heavily on the internet at all. Spend an hour or so each day in front of the screen searching for listings and emailing your resume if you must, but remember that the best jobs are usually found offline. Be brave, use the phone, and arrange face to face meetings. Put your profile to work for you, but once your information is posted, leave it alone and start taking an active role in your search process. If you aren’t sure how to do this, the Palmer Group can help. Contact our office for advice and guidance.