We all know and understand the importance of having a strong social media presence. What we might not readily understand or acknowledge are the risks associated with using these platforms to pursue growth opportunities. After all, with great power comes great responsibility.
When building a brand, the preservation of your professional reputation always takes precedence. You want to be synonymous with greatness, success, efficiency and pizzazz! Establishing a thorough social media policy will not only help you set guidelines for employee conduct online; it will serve as your own personal benchmark and aid in unifying your brand.
Review our dos and don’ts to help you create your very own social media policy!
- Define what “social media” entails. Different organizations use different platforms to stay connected. Make sure you outline which interfaces are covered within your policy. You can even set specific guidelines for each platform your company uses.
- Outline expectations of engagement. It’s a great idea to provide some context to your employees about how they are expected to respond to mentions of your brand. Will a designated customer service representative handle negative feedback? Are employees allowed, or even expected, to retweet, share and mention your brand on social media?
- Safeguard proprietary information and trade secrets. Nobody wants to give away their secret sauce for free. Protect yourself by outlining everything that is considered confidential and therefore, off-limits, to your employees’ feeds. (Be explicit and vigilant with this step!)
- Consider your work force when structuring your policy. Age plays a key role when we view it in the context of social media aptitude. Baby boomers will rely on tips and teachings; millennials will require more usage restrictions.
- Use ambiguous or vague terminology. The last thing you want your employees to do when reviewing your social media policy is guess what you are trying to say. Be direct and clear when drafting guidelines. Outline expectations and process in a concise manner and be sure to stipulate any disciplinary procedures.
- Rely on a disclaimer to protect you. Adding a disclosure such as “all views are my own” will help demonstrate the segregation of personal and professional to viewers and followers online, but don’t count on it to protect you from any potential legal repercussions.
- Foster a ‘gray area’ with your compliance. We like to think that everyone sees things the same way we do, but more often than not, that just isn’t the case. Don’t forget to explicitly list all prohibited or unlawful forms of conduct, including but not limited to: dishonourable content in the form of racial, ethnic, sexual, religious and physical disability slurs, defamatory, pornographic, harassing or libelous content and/or imagery, etc.
- Discourage social media usage. These platforms are all tremendous resources! Of course, it is important to note that usage should not affect productivity (and if it does, consequences should be listed within the policy). Encourage your team to leverage social media as an effective tool but ensure balance in the workplace is also maintained.
Share other social media policies that we should live by below!