Personal or Professional Opinion via Social Media?

Personal or Professional Opinion via Social Media?

We promote tweeting as yourself, not as a faceless, bland organisation. It’s called social media for a reason. You’re talking to other human beings. They are interested in other people, their views, likes and dislikes etc. That’s what makes us human. The most watched TV programmes are about people’s lives, Eastenders and Coronation Street. But when should you not tweet a personal opinion? This is the issue that grips many managers faced with staff using social media.

Social media empowers members of staff to promote themselves and their business. If the employee is encouraged and given the discretion (can you imagine someone having to check all the tweets and Facebook posts before they’re posted?!) by the employer then what happens when the employer doesn’t like the content?

We advocate the Rule of Thirds for social media content. Point. Personal. Promote. Point at free interesting stuff that adds value. Talk about your Personal life to flesh you out as a human being. Then Promote your products or services. So, employees are encouraged and empowered but what happens when a ‘controversial’ tweet goes out? This issue is clearly a concern of any manager that is moving towards a more social business model.

I think it’s important posts show an opinion and that we’re real people communicating with real people. Otherwise you’re just another organisation that communicates everyday but says very little. Do we need a social media policy? Where do we draw the line on political views?

There’s a fine line to tread as there’s a difference between controversy and politics. Controversial could be about challenging people by raising questions in their own minds and that’s fine for creating a debate. Politics can polarise opinion though and that’s the danger to the organisation if a key client or customer disagrees. So the rule of thumb (the policy?) could be that yes to controversy and challenges but no to something that polarises opinion.

Does it come down to your brand though? Does the nature of your work mean you should have an opinion, that it’s expected of you? There are some organisations that should have opinions but post the most vanilla content ever which says nothing about them. In an era of bland generality are the brands that stand out the brands that take a stand?