They don’t have access to Facebook during business hours. But Bob DiBiasio, Cleveland Indians vice president of public relations, says the team may hire a social media coordinator the handle upcoming efforts.

As the breakfast speaker at the IABC Heritage conference in Cleveland, DiBiasio is dealing with a situation that communicators in several companies face: how do we get IT, the executive suite and employees on the same page with communications?

It still baffles me as to why companies would lock down social networks during work hours. Maybe it’s because I’ve always had open access at every job I’ve had. But a partial Web lockdown seems akin to unplugging someone’s desk phone or confiscating mobile phones when employees head into the office. What good does a lockdown do for employees except to make them increasingly frustrated?

Instead, give train your employees, give them guidelines and teach them to be brand ambassadors. The Indians have a communications calendar on SharePoint that all employees can access. It includes frequently asked questions and talking points. DiBiasio realizes that as an employee of the Cleveland Indians, regardless of position or title, friends, family and acquaintances are going to ask questions because the employee represents the team.

“We all need to sing from the same hymnbook,” he said. By providing every employee with clear information, messaging and talking points, the Indians are mobilizing their employees and giving them the power to promote the brand.

The same should hold true for employees regardless of online or offline chatter.

As DiBiasio said during his talk, “I don’t know if you all realize this, but we all work for Web sites now.”

Yes, employees can be your best brand ambassadors but you need to give them the tools do to so. If you don’t trust your employees enough to have access to Facebook during the day, how can you trust them with your business?

— Tonja Deegan

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