Modern businesses require a broad, multifaceted online presence. No matter the industry, the Internet has become a vital tool in reaching customers and delivering services. This business imperative is creating pressure on human resource departments everywhere to recruit and hire staff that’s technically competent to complete a wide variety of tasks. Employees are being asked to tackle Internet-related projects that are outside of their stated official duties, and it’s posing a legitimate risk to businesses that they may not even recognize.

The root of the problem

The major issue that’s involved with farming out Internet-related work to employees in an organization is the liability that comes from non-specialized staff producing official business content. To put it simply, the employees are creating online content that represents the business, and they may not be well versed in the legalities of what they are creating. They may also not be speaking in a tone that is appropriate for the business. It’s important for all official online content to be in line with a company’s marketing strategy and legal obligations.

For example, if a business doesn’t have a dedicated staff to operate online blogs or maintain social media accounts, the employee(s) that they are trusting to do so become the de facto face of the business. The inherent risk should be obvious in that type of scenario since a single bad day might cause a disgruntled employee to do serious harm to their employer’s online reputation.

Smart hiring

The obvious solution is to hire specialized staff to take care of online efforts. This makes adherence to internal regulations and processes much easier to manage, which will cut down on potential problems. To effectively select the best professional for the job, human resources staff have to be trained in exactly what to look for. The position they’ll need to fill is that of a social media specialist or manager.

A successful candidate should possess several important qualities. First and foremost, they should be knowledgeable about the latest social media platforms. They should be experienced in marketing or a related field and should be an accomplished writer.

Human resources will need to evaluate writing samples from several candidates alongside the existing marketing department to find the “voice” they’d like to attach to the brand. They will also have to conduct a plagiarism check to make sure that the prospective hire is actually responsible for their submitted samples.

Success begins with planning

Once the right staff has been hired, it’s vital to provide them with a concrete set of guidelines for their work. They will have to be trained by marketing managers to create a consistent strategy that can be executed across all platforms. It’s also preferable to provide detailed rules regarding legalities and terms of service so that all produced content won’t create headaches after the fact.

Of equal importance is the need to set up internal procedures that will govern what content is actually released online. There should be ongoing oversight by managers, as well as a system of checks and balances.

For instance, requiring at least two employees (usually marketing staff) to review social media posts before they are approved for release can help to avoid problems. It’s also a crucial buffer to prevent malicious actions by any single employee. Once these processes are in place, the business should be well positioned for safe, successful Internet marketing.