It shouldn’t be news that people do business with people they like, but it seems as if we need to point that out to business owners periodically. Since that’s true, and it should be a generally acknowledged truth, it’s mystifying why companies often still make their employees online-anonymous.
What do I mean by online-anonymous? I see company blogs where each post is authored by “Admin” which must have been the world’s most popular baby name from 1960 till about 1990, given how many “Admins” there are out there. People — readers, business prospects, business partners, members, customers, etc. — want to know whose voice it is they’re hearing! They want to know who the authors are of the content they’re consuming — always. Better yet if they can SEE the person who is writing/tweeting, etc.
Better still is the opportunity to contact or connect with the person behind the company account. Let your readers or online visitors know where to find your people online — or off — by e-mail or phone, on LinkedIn, etc.
What worries you? I’ve heard from company managers that they don’t allow their employees to have an online presence that identifies them as a member of the company for the following reasons (with my parenthetical responses):
- They don’t want recruiters or other companies to steal their valuable people away (My response: be a better employer and you won’t have to worry about that.)
- They are embarrassed about their employees and don’t think they’ll represent the company appropriately (Two things: reconsider your hires/weed out, and train/put in place a social media policy to protect you and the employees and make it clear what your expectations are in this realm. Your employees ARE representing you, whether you like it or not.)
- They’re afraid of being contacted by too many people. (Huh? OK, I guess I understand if you’re attracting a lot of people who are not the right audience, but if that’s the case, then it’s your communications strategy that’s off, or maybe you’re just trying to go out of business?)
- Turnover is high, and it’s such a pain to keep removing people or replacing them online. (Hmmm. If turnover is so high, it’s possible your business challenges go much deeper than your online presence. Even if an employee leaves the organization, you don’t have to remove the fact that they ever were associated with your business. In fact, that looks a little fishy to the outside observer. Unless they were a really bad seed, let that person be part of the incredible history that tells the story of your company. You don’t have any control over what that person does online and it’s likely their LinkedIn profile is going to show their employment with you regardless.)
I invite you all in 2015 to introduce us to the people who make up your business. Let’s see their shining faces and get to know their names. I’m far more likely to remember a person than the company name and I’m definitely more interested in interacting with a human than a faceless logo. Aren’t you?