Social media is very influential in many aspects of our daily life, and the workforce is no exception.
Used correctly, social media can be one of the most powerful tools in your tool belt when it comes to marketing, cultivating loyalty amidst clients and building your business. Misused, it can damage social perception, destroy connections and drive a negative image of your brand’s products and services.
Medium.com ran a study measuring the role social media plays in today’s economy and the results were fascinating:
- 2.7 billion internet users use some form of social media
- 53% of Americans who follow brands in social media are more loyal to those brands
- Over 67% of consumers now go to social media for customer service
You can check out the full article here.
Social media platforms are always changing, so it’s important to revise and reevaluate your policy as online platforms and your business model shifts. Below are some tips and tricks to help you get started writing your social media policy or to help you refine your current guidelines.
Establishing Your Online Identity
Your social media policy should be unique to your organization’s philosophy and culture, while also reflecting the needs of all parties. When drafting a social media policy, it is vital to bring together a diverse team of individuals- this promotes a free-flowing culture of creativity, problem-solving, and idea-sharing. It’s crucial to write policies that shape your organization’s unique brand and image. So carefully consider this: How do you want your company and image to be conveyed to the outside world?
Another element of this – Maintain control on your social media directly. Whether it’s through your personal account or a unique account – don’t let your marketing or IT folks ‘own’ the accounts because if the move on you will be in a pickle.
Stay On Top Of Generic Online Reputation Sites
There are ‘generic’ online reputation sites that you need to manage. Often these sites contain outright wrong or misleading information that others may judge you by. Places like Glassdoor and Comparably. A personal anecdote we experienced for our business was on GlassDoor.com — they have OUR job posting appearing under a different technology associates (wrong domain name, wrong state, etc.) and in the reviews is says “insane CEO” — See what I mean? You need to stay on top of these and “verify” these accounts – you basically take over the management of them so you can correct the data.
Protecting Workplace Reality
A good social media policy spells out what is and is not appropriate for employees to post and includes consequences if any of the policies are violated. It is essential to be very clear as to what your organization considers confidential, as this may protect you and your organization from any legal backfire.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team:
- What topics are inappropriate to discuss on company social media platforms? (Example: Religion/ Politics may be off limits)
- Who is authorized to post to these social media platforms?
- What can employees post on their personal accounts regarding your company? (See section #3)
- Does your company have any branding guidelines that need to be reflected in social media conduct?
Consider Legal Consequences
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), was enacted by Congress in 1935 to protect the rights of employees’ and employer’s rights to organize and discuss work conditions with colleagues. Traditionally, this exchange would take place in person; however with the arrival of social media and various virtual platforms, Congress has ruled that these conversations via social media platforms are also protected.
With that said, be very careful telling your employees what is and is not appropriate to post on their own social media sites. The language and wording of your social media policies need to be concise and legal, so it is best to hire a professional who can protect you and your company from legal backfire. The NLRB released a report explaining their rulings on 14 social media cases, check it out to avoid being “Chipotled.”
#5 Social Media Education
As social media has become more prominent in our day-to-day lives, many of us have started to blur the lines between our professional and personal online communities. As more court cases emerge regarding violations of social media policies, we notice that many of these cases arise due to ignorance and lack of education.
Relevant and meaningful social media policies are essential today to protect both employers and employees from legal discourses and confidentiality breaches, you can catch more of our recent thoughts around creating a privacy-centered culture in your business.
Until your team has a firm, clear understanding of the impacts of social media in the workplace, mistakes will be made. Having a firm standard of social media protocols and procedures within a business protects and nurtures a healthy office and brand environment.