Not only is it important to have a social media policy to protect your company’s reputation and ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what is appropriate for employees to post about the company to social networks, but it is also vital to have clear guidelines to help employees understand how they can use social media to help achieve business goals.
Social Media and the Workplace
The workplace of 2016, and heading into 2017, is one that continues to focus on a more fun and relaxed environment –and more heavily than ever before on social media. Why? Because that’s where billions (yes, literally, billions) of individuals in today’s society are spending the majority of their time! While it is important to allow your employees the freedom to express themselves openly, the line between personal and professional conduct can sometimes get a little hazy. This is why it is always a good idea to have a social media policy in place.
According to Hootsuite and Entrepreneur, there are 3 main reasons to implement a social media policy immediately:
- Protect your company’s reputation
- Minimize confusion about murky legal issues
- Raise awareness of your brand
A few questions most businesses find themselves asking when writing their social media policy is, “How lenient should I be? If I’m too strict, will people ignore social media at work completely?” These are great questions to be asking! Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is best for your company — because every company is different. However, we can give you a few pointers and ideas to get you started and headed in the right direction!
Social Media Policy Examples
- Define your roles. Who is in charge of running the social media accounts? There should be a working group of individuals who are in charge of this. What are they allowed to post? Are there certain “trigger” words they should avoid using? Refer to your brand guidelines for this. If you would like them to interact with your content, make sure you have an annual discussion with them regarding respectful conduct when talking about the company online.
- Address any legal issues that may apply. This includes copyright, privacy, fair use, financial disclosure, and other applicable laws. Make sure employees understand the importance of citing work and content and abiding by these legal guidelines.
- Monitoring negative feedback. While it is easy to jump to the company’s defense when an upset customer turns to social media to lash out about a negative experience they may have had, it is important that all employees are aware of how negative situations should be handled. Decide how you want the company to deal with negativity (how do you want your brand to be seen?) and have a formal discussion with all employees.
For a more detailed list of what other companies’ are doing with their own social media policies, click here or here.
5 Tips for a Stellar Social Media Policy
- Give specific examples. Make your policy as specific as possible by providing examples. You can even have your employees participate in a workshop program where they can work through examples. This will help to offer additional clarity on what is okay and what is not.
- Implement a social media training program. Set a date on the calendar for an annual social media training program. A lot of things will change in social media in just one year, and it is important that your policies are up-to-date, as well as your employees.
- Empower your employees. Offer incentives to your employees for giving referrals, sharing content and talking positively about the company online.
- Trust your employees. While you provide them with guidelines, let your employees know that at the end of the day, you trust them. If you don’t trust them, you probably shouldn’t have hired them in the first place. Explain to them why, in today’s world, you need these clear-cut policies, but that ultimately, you know that they are smart individuals who can help positively represent your brand
- Set expectations. Let them know how much time during the workday is allowed to be spent on social channels in order to keep them on-task and productive. Make sure they are aware of what they can and cannot do online when it comes to social media during the workday.
Most importantly, remember that your social media is a live document, meaning it will continuously need updated. What makes sense today, may not make sense a week from now. Be agile and open to change when it comes to your social media policy. Technology and the internet are constantly changing, and so should your policies to stay up-to-date!
Need help getting started with your social media policy or curious about how Brand It Marketing Communications helps companies just like you implement and optimize social media for their businesses? Give us a call at 419.363.2817 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.