Why would you let your 20-somethings paint the image of your company? You’ve seen it happen. It happens throughout the day. Every day. When someone asks a question, three people pull out their smartphones and google-it, wikipedia-it, facebook-it or look it up on LinkedIn. If they can’t find it, or can’t find enough current information, they will Twitter a friend to see if they know anything about it. Is your company a topic in the "twitter-verse"? How is your organization portrayed? Where is your life science company/organization when they are the source of the quest for this information? Are you unwilling to participate or is your company just a passive bystander? No need to be a victim. It’s time to change all that. Take control of your social media exposure:
1. Ensure your company has a Linkedin® company page. Periodically, the employees are way ahead of the company when it comes to linkedin®. Once in a while, the employee will have a Linkedin profile, but the company will not. Eventually, the marketing/business development staff will catch-up and formalize it the organization’s Linkedin® presence. The sooner the better. Your company is negatively impacted by being absent from LinkedIn.
2. No doubt the business development staff will already have a presence on Linkedin®. They have already learned that this is where networking, leads, and competitive surveillance occur. Ensure your organizational leaders have a Linkedin® presence as well. Does every leader in your organization have a Linkedin® profile? It represents your company well to make that happen. If the CEO/President doesn't want to tend to it, let their administrative assistant handle it. They are probably already screening the CEO’s email. I have made many connections through Linkedin and not only has it lead to some great business opportunities it has also fostered business relationships that would not have been previously possible as several has sought me out to ask no-strings technical questions or get introductions to others in my network. This is not intended to be an ad for Linkedin®, but I have not yet seen a downside to this business network. I have some dabblings in Facebook®’s business networking app called BranchOut®, but right now it is not of sufficient mass to amount to much. BTW: the HR staff have already learned the best place to identify expert staff is LinkedIn.
3. Your organization should have a Facebook page. Again another opportunity to share the great things that your company is doing. Did an employee get published? Was there a PR event? The great thing about FB is that you can regulate the content and the comments. Some companies, like McDonalds, have had disasters when they have opened up their FB pages to the whims of the public, but that is not really the best approach to take. Let the employees crowd-source the content so that it doesn’t become just a stuffy business site. There is not a “dislike” button on Facebook and the staff will amaze you at how they can express your organization’s noble mission. Clients and potential employees will read what is written about you on FB. While LinkedIn will describe what your organization does, Facebook will paint a picture of the work culture and environment. So given that tidbit: Is your company going to be cast in the light of tagged photos of “keg stands” by the leadership team or by images of the water balloon toss at the company picnic?
4. Many of your employees would be happy to get twittered updates on events at the company. They are doing it now, but between each other and it is not being disseminated from you. Show your staff that your company resides in the current year and are not dated in the past. Don’t want to be followed by some people? Block them from following your Twitter® feed. You’ll likely find this to be unnecessary.
5. avWho Life science organizations who do pre-clinical research do not have to hide from social media. These companies do have critics, but those fringe groups don’t like a lot of other people or businesses either. Your clients already are aware of these folks, and their comments are not going to dissuade them from doing business with you. There is much noble work going on in pre-clinical labs and this light should not be ”hidden under a bushel”. The UCLA School of Medicine is the poster child of what great presence a pre-clinical lab can have on Facebook. Search them out.
Social media drives positive interest to your organization and despite the crowd-sourced nature of the beast it does not mean that you are giving away trade secrets or client information. Rather than letting someone else paint a picture of your company, you take the lead and cast your company in the light that you prefer. You will not regret it.