You may love social media and your staff may love social media but are you sure your business is properly protected?
By this I mean, have you considered if your business needs a social media policy?
Have you had some experiences where social media has caused issues within your business or with your customer base?
If you have had such an experience or are worried it could happen in the future, then perhaps you need to read on.
The main purpose of the policy isn’t to lock down staff on what they can and cannot write but to enable all to contribute in a professional manner, using the key messages of your company to reach the marketing goals that have been set. A lot of what is developed in a social media policy should be the right and wrongs all staff should really be working to anyway as part of your team, you wouldn’t expect a staff member to be rude to a customer face to face and the same should be said for social media interaction.
Developing a policy for your business also helps out your employees so they are clear of the company position and how you wish to be perceived on each of the social media platforms.
By giving your staff the correct tools and rules to work by you are doing a lot of good in protecting your company’s reputation.
If you business is new to you or you are working in a particularly ‘difficult’ industry, a social media policy can help clarify your position, how you want to be perceived and underline your legal position.
Additionally, the policy should have clear boundaries so staff can freely interact and use your social media platforms to promote and comment on the company’s behalf and expand on your brand awareness in a positive way.
Creating your own social media policy should be straight forward and can clearly be set out in two main areas:
How your company is using social media
How employees are using their own social media accounts
Clearly define the roles of you and your staff, who is posting, who is creating content, who deals with customer services etc. This can prevent any miscommunication between colleagues on interaction on platforms.
Make the social media strategy fully available to all staff and prepare new starters with the information they need before they are representing your company online or using their own social media in the workplace.
As part of defining roles, staff need to be aware of the roles managing the company brand, continuity and crisis planning, customer service policies and training programmes for staff in the future.
As you can only have so much control over your staff’s own social media activities, it must be made clear about the change of pace and responsibility your staff need to have when managing your business platforms.
Make sure your employees know to protect confidential information, whether the brands’, their own, or their customers’.
Make sure the policy also addresses how the business deals with negative issues, complaints or trolling for example. Make these policies work for your business thinking and about the company’s values and reputation.
I would recommend using an online template as a start point to give you a clear pathway to work through, then if needs be, maybe get it checked out by your legal eagles as there has been a lot of new legislation produced which is constantly being reviewed as the digital world becomes more and more part of our business lives.
A good place to get started is looking at the Social Media Governance Policy Database which provide an excellent overview of other organisations social media policies and enables you get additional information. Another useful link is the ACAS site which provide lots more additional information on what level of policy you will need and how to develop this with your employees in mind.