|Who 'owns' an employee's Twitter followers?|
Thursday, 26th January 2012
Source : Robin Houghton
Some interesting debate in Marketing last week about employee Twitter accounts and who owns the relationship with followers should the employee leave the company.
On the one hand, media lawyer Mark Smith warns that companies should have a clear social media policy in which it is stated (for example) that employees "are not permitted to add business contacts... to their personal Twitter accounts, as this will allow the employee to easily retain details of business contacts in the event that they leave."
But Becky Brown, Director of Social Media for Intel, says that the company's goal is to make all employees active social media participants on behalf of the company and "ownership remains with the individual." Employees create and manage their relationships on Twitter, therefore they are theirs to take with them if they leave.
It's another example of how attitudes need to change before companies can really make the shift towards becoming social businesses. Companies such as Intel and IBM are leading the way here and not falling prey to the 'fear factor'.
If there are big issues of trust and control within the culture of an organisation, social initiatives (however well planned) will falter. Or, as Sandy Carter of IBM puts it, "culture eats strategy for lunch."
Robin Houghton is a marketer & writer based in Lewes, East Sussex. Under the business name Eggbox Marketing I advise, consult & speak on social media & online marketing, which I've been doing for 12 years.