If your company does not have a social media policy in place, put this important task on your priority list for this week. There are more reasons than one to create a social media policy.
As the title implies, a social media policy helps to empower your employees. This empowerment comes in a few ways: outlining the do’s and don’ts of a social media policy can help your employees feel more confident, help to increase your company’s exposure, and prevent a social media crisis from occurring from within your organization.
Don’t Leave Your Employees in the Dark
Are your employees confused about what they can or cannot post on social media? If you have not discussed this topic with employees, you should. In fact, it should be a regular topic of discussion during your interoffice meetings. In addition to writing out a detailed policy on social media, with specific guidelines for your employees, you should also discuss this topic in detail. Always leave the window open and be available to discuss social media interactions with your employees.
Detail What Employees Should and Can Say vs. Should Not and Cannot Say
At the risk of sounding like a Dr. Seuss book, there are specific nuances that should be outlined between what should be said, what could be said and what should not or could not be said. In other words, you need to let your employees know what they cannot say. As far as what they can say and what you would suggest they say, you might even list examples. Some companies send out daily or weekly suggestions, or just ask employees to share, copy, or retweet what the company’s social media account has posted.
This all greatly hinges on what type of company or organisation you have and how social you want to be. The guidelines written must also include posting to your company’s social media pages, posting as your company on social media, and posting under their own personal social media accounts. Be as specific and detailed as possible. The aim is to be as detailed and concise as possible. Keeping the policy short and easy to understand will simplify the process. Back up the policy with training.
Increasing Your Company’s Exposure through Employee Social Interactions
Some industries may not call for much social interaction from employees. However, when employees are encouraged to share company social media information, it can greatly expand the reach of the posts. In addition, it looks very favorable for employees to talk about their company on social media in a positive way, because it acts like an endorsement.
Think for a minute about your personal network friends online. If they do not talk about or share their company’s information on social media, do you doubt the company’s integrity? Does social silence give you the impression that they don’t like their job or the company they work for? It definitely can depend on the type of business it is. However, retailers, small businesses, and companies that are very social should probably have social employees to support their efforts.
Preventing an Employee Social Media Crisis
Just about everyone has heard about social mistakes made by employees. Sometimes it is a mistake, sometimes it is a disgruntled ex-employee, but in some of the worst cases, it is an employee using bad judgment. Your company’s social media policy must outline not only what to say about your company and your business, but it must also outline what employees can and cannot say on their own, personal social media accounts. The last thing you want is for your company to come under fire for an employee’s radical or controversial views or behaviors.
Your policy should cover everything including rogue tweets (when an employee accidentally posts to the company account instead of their own) to what employees can post (or more importantly what they cannot post) even on their own personal accounts. Social media should be defined broadly as to any public facing social network online, even with privacy settings.
Conclusion and Takeaways
One of the first steps to take when creating your social media policy is to consult the law in your state or jurisdiction for your business. Other factors to consider include how social your business is and what your social media marketing goals are. Set employee engagement goals and reward employees for helping you achieve them. The social media policy must apply to everyone in the organization from top level management, executives, and owners, to all employees in all departments.
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