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OPINION! 3 managers of traditional German corporations on their use of social media: Bayer, Daimler & Deutsche Bahn

Daimler, Deutsche Bahn and Bayer - Three executives of Germany's largest corporations report on how they deal with social media: Lothar Oppenhäuser of Bayer, Uwe Knaus of Daimler and Robindro Ullah of Deutsche Bahn.

Lothar Oppenhäuser is Head of Electronic Media in Corporate Communications at Bayer AG. Uwe Knaus is Manager Corporate Blogging and Social Media Strategy at Daimler AG, responsible for the Daimler blog and the use of Twitter. He tweets and says: “Social media permeates our everyday life - private as well as professional. Companies and products are talked about online, new technologies are discussed and products are recommended - or not. "As Head of Additional Services at DB Services, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG, Robindro Ullah is responsible for a department that deals with job security.

Lothar Oppenhäuser: Safety comes first!

Social networks on the Internet are part of our everyday life today. It goes without saying that many Bayer employees also have private accounts at Facebook, Twitter and Co., which they can use to a certain extent at work.

Every employee knows the guidelines for using Web 2.0, and knows that the use of the Internet and the security of IT systems come first. We trust our employees to responsibly handle private Internet use.

That no one officially tweeted on behalf of or on behalf of Bayer or “facebooken “, which is not authorized to do so, is just as natural as the protection of company know-how. Most employees therefore always express their private opinion.

Do not restrict access!

Restricting access to social networks does not make sense to us, because only those who are familiar with the social web are able to develop further communication potential for Bayer and to exchange ideas with others.

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For example, our Facebook-Page BayerKarriere: There you write from a wide variety of areas. The contributions range from reports and videos about starting a job and working life, as well as photo series and reviews of Bayer events. At the same time, employees comment on contributions from colleagues, and some have a further link or tip ready.

Insights into the company

What I'm getting at: Such a fan page that not only gives users interesting insights into it Company , but also promotes the solidarity of the employees with one another and with "their" company. This is then also gladly and consciously in the Network gezeigt.

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Social media engagement can help identify trends early on Criticism to react or to initiate your own topics. And who better to present Daimler and its diversity to the public than our employees?

With their expert knowledge, they can enrich discussions on the Internet or find useful suggestions for their work. It is therefore in our interest to promote their social media engagement.

Old habits, new parent tables

However, we also note that there are still some uncertainties in dealing with these new forms of communication. In order to inform the employees about the possibilities and risks, we have put together guidelines in the form of a social media guide - deliberately no new rules.

Because employees do not need any additional rules for Twitter or Facebook. You don't have to tell them what to tweet and what not to tweet. They usually know that very well. Before an employee takes an external eMail writes, or chats in the round table at the regulars' table, he thinks exactly what he tells to whom.

Twitter or Facebook are just new, large get-togethers that are confusing and where not just friends sit. We clarify this. Applicable legal provisions, employment contracts and existing internal guidelines also continue to set binding limits.

So behave, that nothing should be unpleasant to me

I myself have been using social media relatively intensively over the past three years. In doing so, I have noticed that a distinction between “professional” and “private” is becoming increasingly difficult. At first I declared my Facebook- and Twitter account as private - XING was intended for "business" use.

I am now being contacted professionally on all three platforms - sometimes around the clock. The decisive factor is not how I organize it, but how the others see it. That's why I always behave in such a way on the social web that I don't have to be uncomfortable either as a private person or as a Daimler employee. "

Photo: Eva Kaczor, MISS CREATIVE CLASSY, at an interview 2009.

Robrindo Ullah: First experience with the topic even as a trainee

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The subject of mixing “private” and “professional” has been with me for much longer than my three-year-old social media life. Immediately after joining Deutsche Bahn, I became a member of the TraineeClub, like every young academic in the group.

The cross-divisional club brings young professionals into forums, roaming talks and excursions, but also on board tables and leisure activities.

Distance or proximity?

Questions quickly arose such as: “Do I give out my private cell phone number or my business one? Do I keep my distance or do I also tell private things? ”Because even in such a large corporation, you meet again in a professional context quicker than you think.

For me it was therefore clear: A strict separation between professional and private topics is not possible. On the contrary: mixing leads to closer social contacts, strengthens the network among employees - and their ties to the Group. However, how much private life you can incorporate into the profession, everyone has to decide individually for themselves. A corporation can neither prohibit nor enforce private contacts in the workplace. Only nepotism is of course not tolerated.

The boundaries between private and professional are blurring

Social media gave these questions even greater weight. Because Twitter, Facebook and Co. potentiate the already existing network effects. And you can hardly avoid the question "private" or professional? "Because place and time no longer play a role:

For example, I also communicate on the weekend about professional issues or vice versa also in the office professional on private channels. For corporations this is an opportunity and a challenge at the same time:

Trust instead of control

Each individual employee becomes the sign of the company and even more strongly than the analogue times the business card of his employer with. Even if the content and the number of ambassadors of a company have not changed: every single employee is more visible through social media and has a greater reach.

As a company, we must trust our employees to act, encourage and advise on the technical possibilities. Blocking sites and banning the use of social media would be the wrong way.

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4 responses to “OPINION! 3 managers of traditional German corporations on their use of social media: Bayer, Daimler & Deutsche Bahn ”

  1. Tanja Handl says:

    Especially the Bayer Facebook-Fanpage is not a great example for me of diversity in dealing with social media - in my opinion a lot more conservative marketing language. I think companies like OTTO manage to act much more personal and personable in this area. Perhaps Bayer would do well with a little more courage to be open - and a few faces on Facebook. Then I would like the offer. :)

    • Simone Janson says:

      Hello Mrs. Handl, thanks for the comment. The somewhat colorless statement confirms your opinion. Unfortunately there was just nothing more to get out of ... ;-)

  2. Holger Froese says:

    3 Manager of traditional German companies about their dealings with social media: Lothar Oppenhäuser, Bayer #Business
    Commented on Twitter

  3. Competencepartner says:

    3 managers of traditional German corporations on their use of social media: Lothar Oppenh ...

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