Social media can be used as a positive tool for a company, but it also has the potential to trigger harmful outcomes. In today’s world you need to be proactive about your online presence and the presence of those who represent you. Many top companies have found themselves at the centre of media outrages because of how their employees use social media. In the real world, an employee’s professional life might be far removed from their personal life. However, in the world of social media these two can be connected, which means one can and will affect the other. To manage this, you must create a social media policy that should guide your employees on effective social media use.
What Is A Social Media Policy?
A social media policy is a document that advises a company’s employees on how to utilize social media responsibly and effectively. The aim of these guidelines is to protect the company from possible repercussions should an employee do something that results in a negative reaction. The policy also aims to help the company achieve positive outcomes from social media exposure.
What Is Included In A Social Media Policy?
Here are a few things that you should do with your social media policy:
- Educate the employees about the social media platforms that they use. Many use social media without reading through all the fine print; hence they may violate the terms and conditions of use unknowingly.
- Outline how and when employees should use social media while at work and at home.
- Outline all the possible outcomes that result from irresponsible social media use.
- Outline the dos and don’ts when they post about the company and privacy concerns when sharing any details related to the workplace.
- Show employees how they can help to promote the company through the use of social media.
How Often Should It Be Updated?
Social media platforms provide regular updates. Developers are always trying to push something new and exciting. Sometimes new ways of expression on social media leads to new ways of sparking controversy. This is why the policy will need to be updated regularly. With every new social media trend, the policy must be reviewed to ensure that it is relevant. It is ideal that the policy be updated every year and the new information shared with the employees.
Why Is The Policy Important?
It Preserves Your Company Reputation
Your company is built by those who work within it, and so they will represent the company wherever they go. This means that their reputation threatens the company’s reputation, and a company with a bad reputation has much to worry about. You will lose current and potential customers and attempts to recover will require time and energy. The sad thing is, no matter how much damage control you do, it usually is not enough to completely get rid of a bad reputation. The negative perception will be kept alive somewhere, especially if it started on social media. A social media policy helps to safeguard your company from this trouble.
It Prevents Legal Issues
There are more than one ways that your employee’s behavior and the information they share on social media can lead to lawsuits. Lawsuits will cost you money and your reputation. The fact is the average employee might not be aware of what actions can attract lawsuits. The social media policy will educate them on this. This is very important because the last thing your company needs is a lawsuit because of employee ignorance.
It Upskills Employees
The social media policy is generally made with the company’s well-being in mind. However, it also comes with the development of employee’s personal and professional skills. Properly representing oneself on social media will improve public perception and may very well lead to opportunities in the long run. Many take this for granted when using the internet for personal reasons.
It Prevents Employees from Sharing Private Information
Every company has information that needs to be kept confidential. There are employees with knowledge of these details who like to share everything on social media. The policy helps to regulate the information that employees share and this prevents deliberate or accidental leaks of information. The last thing you want is for private company information to fall into the wrong hands and be used to the detriment of the establishment.
Social media has become an inevitable part of our lives and we need to adjust to it. This is why every company, large or small needs to have a code of conduct in place to manage the use of social media of persons within the entity. If a social media policy is overlooked, you might end up suffering from a pr disaster that can possibly ruin your business.