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How social media is changing what can be said, when and where

Scott Goldman | July 5, 2016
There are many benefits to having your employees active on social media. Exposure, name recognition and free publicity come to mind. But there are potholes along the way.

Dave is the kind of salesman that every company wants. Driven, slightly aggressive, persistent and a contact list a mile wide. He has lots of followers on his Facebook page and Twitter feed and is growing even more quickly on Pinterest, thanks to the photos of your company's products that he posts.  

When Dave closes a deal he takes the team out for beers, treats his family to a nice dinner out and brags about it on his social media accounts. Lots of people reply with congratulations or words of encouragement.  

Amy, in your accounting department has a different social media presence that reflects her more reserved personality. She blogs regularly on Tumblr and posts selfies on Instagram while in pensive poses when problems overwhelm her. She doesn't have as many followers as Dave, but the people who care about her have followers of their own and whatever she posts, they re-post, "like" or tweet about so many others see what Amy is thinking and feeling, too.

Both Dave and Amy represent major risks for your company.

How is this possible? Devoted, dedicated employees with deep reach into a broad base of followers and fans should be an asset to the company, shouldn't they? Yes, they should... if they handle their social media accounts properly. The problem is, most people don't and most companies don't know the difference.  

Imagine now that a couple of your competitors follow Dave on Twitter and that investors, traders and internal personnel (other employees) read Amy's Tumblr blog and look at her photos. Although it sounds benign there are some hidden but serious risks to your company's confidential information.  

Think about this: Dave has beaten one of his competitors in a sales pitch and a big contract is signed. He tweets about it. Investors who have Googled your company's name have come across Dave's profile and followed him on Twitter. He doesn't know who they are - or care - as he's got thousands of followers and can't keep track of each one. The investors, however, know that Dave is a bit of a braggart and read his tweets with interest. When he tweets about beating his toughest competitor in a sales presentation and landing a big contract, the investors buy.  

Dave has given them insider information and doesn't even know it.

Amy, on the other hand, watches the books like a hawk. She monitors everyone's expenses and takes it personally when they spike without seeing a revenue increase.  When she gets stressed out she blogs about it on Tumblr and takes photos of herself on Instagram with papers scattered all over her desk and a morose look on her face.

 

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