Why adopt a social media policy? To protect your company’s brand and reputation! Social media mistakes can made the news and go viral. Examples like the Burger King employee in Japan who posted a photo of himself lying on a pile of burger buns to Instagram, or the photos of Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza employees doing disgusting things with food should be enough to frighten every business owner. Many other social media gaffes and abuses don’t go viral, but all of them inevitably hurt the brand involved.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
The number of people commenting, liking, sharing and tweeting every part of their life is growing exponentially. The concern is how to manage employees’ social media use and the impact it can have on the company’s brand.
“No matter the size of your company,” says David Jackson of Rage Agency, a social media adviser to companies, “you need a social media policy to educate and advise your employees of the potential impact of their actions.”
Yes, Even You Need to Adopt a Social Media Policy
A social media policy is basically a guide for employees using social media in their personal lives. Your social media policy should remind employees that they should keep themselves – and your business – above reproach, in both deeds and appearance.
Employees should adhere to the principle that they are responsible for maintaining their employer’s credibility, no matter whether they are online or offline. Even if they aren’t using social media tools yet, they might want to someday, so they should still be familiar with your policy.
A Social Media Policy in 3 Statements
- Integrity is everything. Integrity is your company’s most important commodity: Employees should avoid writing or posting anything that would embarrass your company or compromise their ability to do their job.
- No separation. Employees should assume that their personal and professional lives will merge online. This will happen regardless of the care they take in separating them.
- Privacy doesn’t exist. Even if your employees use privacy tools (for instance, determining who can view their profile, page or post), they should assume that everything they write, receive or exchange on a social media site is public.
Where To Start?
Depending on how big your company is, involve other people from other departments. Make sure to include management, legal, info technology and human resources. Each each department has different insights as to risk and impact.
You could hire a consultant to work with the team and draft the policy, alternatively you could use a tool like this online social media policy generator.
There is no need to craft a policy from scratch. A list of published social media policies from companies can be found at the Social Media Governance site. You should easily be able to find one that works for you and which you can change to suit your company.
Finally, your final social media policy should be reviewed by your legal department before you share it with and educate all your employees.