Like so many cleaning business owners, you’ve certainly seen the shift towards using social media for business in the last couple of years. Recently, networking has gone from “Can I get your card?” to “What’s your twitter handle?” There’s a good reason for it, too – using social media is a proven business strategy to acquire new customers and strengthen ties with your old ones. It’s a great way to increase revenue and ultimately put more money in your pocket.
However, anyone looking to market themselves or their companies on social media needs to remember that there is a personal side to Facebook and Twitter as well. Where do you draw the line? It may interest your following to know what you’re in your office working on, but do they also need to know what you had for breakfast? The line between what is and isn’t appropriate becomes even murkier during hours spent outside the office. You might send out an update to get some communication going that says, “Going out to the movies, what should I see?” This is a great way to encourage conversation, but could have other unexpected results. If an employee is following your updates, they may be stuck at the office late and feel some resentment that you’re out enjoying yourself while they are slaving away on that new big account. If it affects their productivity negatively, you could lose an important client.
There are other possible detriments to having employees and clients knowing the ins-and-outs of your personal life as well. When you gain a large following on Facebook or Twitter, you have to begin to look at everything you do much in the same way a celebrity in the public eye has to. Anything you do that may be posted in a picture or “tweeted” about can be visible to your following, so remember to always conduct yourself in a professional manner that will represent yourself and your business well. Failing to do so can result in a loss of respect from customers and employees and ,in certain rare instances, has even led to discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits. One of the best ways to avoid this is to be sure to avoid friend requests from employees, and request that your managers do the same with their subordinates. This will help to avoid sticky situations that can arise anytime the relationship between boss and employee becomes a little too familiar.
Many cleaning businesses are beginning to implement social networking guidelines to keep issues such as these from happening. It may be a good idea for you to consider something along those lines as well, but ultimately it comes down to a matter of professional judgement and choice. Just be sure to exercise appropriate discretion when communicating online, and always remember that you are ultimately the voice of your company.
Travis Harrup is the Director of Operations and Managing Partner at Social Starfish. Find out more at www.socialstarfish.com. You Can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org