Connecting with teams globally often is achieved with social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. These social media tools have become a regular form of doing business in today’s global workplace. Many managers consider the risks of connecting via social media to far outweigh the benefits. This can be true, however used effectively by conscientious co-workers this tool can be great to have in your teams tool kit.
The following reflects teams that are using public social media for global work. Many organizations have an internal social network (for that there are corporate guidelines, policy and culture for their use).
Here are some best practices to consider if you are considering traditional public social media with your global as well as local teams.
Once live it never dies – be conscious of what you are tweeting or posting online. Once a photo, video, or data string hits the web it could realistically live their forever. So before you hit send ask yourself if you would want your mother or corporate competitor to know what you said or linked to.
No one cares about your cat – use the social media tools with respect. Do not flood the system with “photos of funny cats” or other space fillers (especially in internal systems).
Abide by Company Policy and Culture – know what your company deems appropriate for information security and public knowledge. What is posted could go viral or even to the wrong eyes.
Watch your tone – a lot can be mixed up in the way we transmit information that is written (especially when constrained to 140 characters). Be sure that your posts do not question your intention or make others uncomfortable.
Private is often public – even if you are sending a “private message” using a social media tool it could be read by someone sitting next to the intended recipient. It can flash up on mobile device screens and be read by a client, CEO or their child. Remember even if you are in private when you scribe the note the recipient may be on stage.
Think before you write – never communicate using social media when you are angry. First work to reduce your anger then connect in a more face-to-face or voice-to-voice way.
Front Page News Worthy – remember at the end of the day, would you be happy if what you wrote made it on the front page of the newspaper. If so then share it… if not consider reaching out with another medium.
Friends see everything – e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g-! if you connect with people from work, know that they will see everything you post from photos of walks on the beach with your family, videos you are watching online and commercial products you like in your “private life” … be sure your digital footprint won’t get you fired or even leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth about you.
Consider Culture – What you post that is funny in your home country might be the most offensive thing in another. Take time early on to understand as much as you can about other countries and their cultural, religious, and political sensitivities. They say knowledge is power – and it sure beats losing a contract or friend.
No matter where you work or who you work with, consider the benefits of social media in your global communications strategy!