Can the behavior of employees in social networks influence the brand image?

Social networking has many benefits for businesses. They represent a low-cost medium that enables them to more easily engage in Engagement activities both for the general public and for their company staff (endomarketing).

However, it is a double-edged sword, as trademarks no longer belong to the company completely, and are the product of involuntary crowdsourcing. Even companies see their image vulnerable because what their employees say impacts directly or indirectly.

Can the behavior of employees in social networks influence the brand imageIssuing opinions has always been easy. In fact there is a very popular saying that people talk because they have mouths, and now because they have fingers. In social networks people suffer a kind of metamorphosis that can denote a kind of cybernetic bipolarity: women are more beautiful and men more successful than they usually are in their real life. In this effervescence of the “I” that happens through social networks, all human emotions (including the most minimal) are increased to the millionth power.

We can be kinder or more cruel. This latter behavior is often fun to do and read. It is normal for people to utter raw, lascivious and offensive opinions driven by the power of not being in front of the other person in saying them, in a frenzy unleashed by real-time anonymity. But do our online behaviors only impact who gets or receives them?

Wandering through the net, she found an article in an online newspaper about Jennifer Lopez and her tiny suit on an English television show. In the aforementioned note, one of these people willing to launch vulgar opinions on the network through his Facebook account, issued homophobic, aggressive and misogynist comments to another member of the community. He even challenged him to meet and have a kind of strange sexual encounter. So far so good since for that they are the forums and the world is free to give personal opinion; But next to the name of this person was his job – an operating manager – and the name of the company for which he works.

For those of us who read or comment on social networks, it is common to meet with these cyberbullys, who are free to issue such comments without any impact shielded by anonymity. What’s more, it can be any William. But the situation changes if in his profile he says that he is a proud employee of one of the most important manufacturers of industrial machinery worldwide. And also it is not any employee since it is in some level of the area of management. So is it really anonymous?

In the Facebook profile, it is easy to lie, but beyond the fact that this individual works for the company, the damage to his image is made (he is one of the few companies in the industrial market that invest in his public image, due to Diversification towards mass consumption). It is a fact that advertising can help improve the corporate brand image, it is also undeniable that it is the contact with the public that defines its success or failure. And dear companies: this opinion of the employee of company “X” is a contact with the public.

In this situation, this person leaves an image of misogyny and intolerance such that if he is in the management of any company, it is a danger for employees of different gender and sexual diversity who work there. Personally, I would not like to work or collaborate with a person who publicly expresses himself in this way, whether manager, sweeper or doorman.

I am a supporter of freedom of expression, but you have to distinguish between freedom and debauchery, especially if what I can say impacts others. This stage of Self-importance (because in social networks at the moment of opinion, we all feel important) can be negative for companies.

It would not be wrong, that when signing the contract also make a responsive of what people publish on social networks, if you decide to mention in your profile that works for the company. That is, if you decide to divulge in any social network that you belong to “X” organization, you must be aware that what you can express at any given time would be negative for the brand and against the philosophy of the company. Probably people will not change their behavior in social networks and will not stop issuing their crazy comments, but somehow be aware that their actions in these digital media have an impact on the public that is part of the market in which Companies are developing.

You have to take the necessary actions to protect the image of companies and brands, and also know that not only the Community Manager communicates with the public through social networks: Your staff too.

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