My last blog post was all about businesses having an online reputation whether they like it or not. This post goes a step further: Your employees' online reputations affecting your business reputation.
In the last week, I've read two articles about employees doing things online that negatively reflect back on their employers. The first happened with Runner's World and a freelancer who tweeted sexist remarks during the Boston Marathon. This freelancer continued to ruin his reputation by being combative at critics, and continuing to tweet patronizing and insulting posts - instead of apologizing.
In this freelancer's Twitter bio, it listed him as a freelancer for Runner's World. So now Runner's World was directly connected to sexist, combative tweets toward its large - usually loyal - audience. Runner's World had to come out with its own damage control.
Frank Reed wrote an article for Biznology addressing another issue where a business was affected by an employee's bad behavior.
Do you know if your employees are on Twitter? Are you following their tweets? Do you know if your employees have public Facebook pages? If they are public, are you watching what they are posting?
I am not suggesting that you dictate what your employees post. (Read that last sentence again because it's very important.) As a huge believer and user of social media, I think it's best to encourage your employees to use these sites. My point is that you need to be aware if they are on these sites and follow them. They are an extension of your brand. Their involvement on these sites can strengthen your brand, but also put you at risk if you're not paying attention.