Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

B2B Marketing Dilemma – It’s My Social Media Account!

Back in December I read an article regarding an employee of a British company that built up quite a following to promote his employer and then left.  The company sued, saying the account was their along with all the followers.  “Experts: Twitter account case may blaze new trails in social media law” CNN December 27, 2011

Personally, I’ve tried hard to keep my online presence separate from my employer (Trillium Software a Division of Harte-Hanks).  But, as we ramp up social media activity, there is pressure to blog, join LinkeIn discussions, tweet, and generally use our personal social media accounts to help promote the company.  The irony is that as the head of product marketing and programs it is my team, and yes me, that is encouraging this.  However, I’m a bit hesitant, and here is why.

My social media marketing manager is doing a lot of the promotion and monitoring for our campaign and social media bureau.  He uses his LinkedIn account primarily.  It brings up the challenge of separating personal goals and employer goals.  Remembering the article above, I suggested he create work identities that are specific to Trillium Software to avoid conflicts of interest and to help him maintain his personal brand.  Sounds easy enough.

Not so fast.

Twitter is fairly simple.  LinkedIn poses issues.  It seems he tried to set up a professional profile on LinkedIn and they shut it down.  I understand this reasoning and actually agree with it.  As I move around LinkedIn I am those truly trying to network have much more credibility in my mind than those just trying to sell me something.  Also, LinkedIn wants to ensure that they remain a network, not a marketing platform.  Their value is business relationships for jobs, career growth, and networking.  Promotion is secondary, even if lucrative.

  • So, what is a social media company representative to do?
  • Where do intellectual property right begin and end?
  • When will social media account management catch up with employer non-compete and IP trends?

There is a real disincentive to network as part of your job with the threat of legal action when you separate from your employer.  Even if the separation is amicable, why would an employee want to give up his/her account where they have built relationships and a network.  The lines are very blurred between personal and professional and right now, personal seems to be at a distinct dissadvantage.

Any suggestions on what you have done?

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Filed under: b2b, personal brand, social media, social media marketing, , ,

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