Does Your Company Need a Social Media Policy? … YES!
by Yasmine Moulin
Having a social voice today is common. Some companies even encourage employees to use social media to bring awareness about where the work, what they do, and what great social activities the staff are doing. Building relationships and bringing awareness to their company’s employee “fun” and social responsibility activities is a wonderful way to build awareness of a company’s great employee culture. However, setting ground rules and policies in place around “being social” is highly recommended. Why?
Whether you are a small, medium, or large business, you want to protect your brand, your business, and your good name. I remember a disgruntled employee, a social media specialist for the company to say the least, making rude comments about their superior, belittling their intelligence, and competency, and also those of the employees on their personal Facebook page. The employee’s personal Facebook was public. This could could have caused great distress to their superior and employees being cyber bullied, and caused the firm to loss their good reputation. It was caught very quickly after posting, and with a solid social media policy in place, the cyber bully was gone.
Whether employees post on their personal or company social media platforms, just one social media comment, post, or tweet could lose a company’s reputation, lose customers, or possibly even face legal action if comments made break the law, are offensive, incite hatred, or is considered cyber bullying.
Should I trust my employees to use social media responsibly?
To be good leader, and encourage employee engagement, trusting your employees is key. However, a good leader also leads the way for everyone to be their personal and professional best. Many employees are late adopters to social media, or not savvy to the power of social media and the consequences of a quick or impulsive post or tweet. What can you do?
How to implement a social media policy?
Your social media policy will protect you, your business, and your employees’ reputation. It will raise awareness that everyone is accountable for their behaviour and give your employees a benchmark of what is acceptable and not acceptable regarding their social voice. Your social media policy will also ensure you have measures in place to take action should this policy be breached. Employers need to set out clear expectations and boundaries regarding what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
What should my social media policy include?
- Your social media policy does not have to be long.
- I recommend it be written in plain English. If it is written in legal jargon, chances are, employees will not read it, or understand it.
- Introduce right at the beginning the purpose of the policy – focus on the positive, what employees can do, rather than what they cannot do.
- Ask them to use good judgement, to be respectful, and to consider what the purpose of social media is, e.g. engagement, building relationships, building brand awareness, story-telling.
- Do state clearly that offensive, abusive, unacceptable behaviour or comments will not be tolerated. Give examples.
- Ask employees to state that their comments and views are their own.
- Ask employees to be mindful of copyright infringement.
- Ensure you stress the importance of company confidentiality and proprietary information.
- Have two sections for their personal and professional social voice.
- Have an action plan in place in the event of a breach in policy, or if a complaint is received.
- Once you have a draft policy, I recommend a legal review.
- As with any policies, they are not carved in stone. It seems I’m learning a new app, or creating a new social platform presence each week. As you live with the policy, edits, adjustments, additions etc. will be needed.
At Yasmine Moulin Consulting, we are here to help you with your Social Media Voice, Presence, and protecting your business and reputation. If you would like to add a Social Media Policy, give us a call or email us. We are here to help.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yasmine Moulin is owner of Yasmine Moulin Consulting, providing professional development, executive leadership programs, social media branding and marketing, and business management consulting services. Yasmine has been in the continuing professional education field for financial professionals and business leaders for many years. She has successfully planned and developed executive education and professional development programs for VPs, CEOs, CFOs, and senior leaders. Yasmine was an early adopter of social media & saw the power it has to build relationships, brand awareness & authentic engagement with clients & potential new clients. This lead her to being a social media consultant and strategist. Previously, Yasmine was in the English as a Second Language (ESL) industry including being an ESL teacher and English & French tutor. Yasmine holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Royal Roads University. Combining executive, management, business & leadership experience along with education & professional development, her focus & passion is in helping clients & their teams obtain their professional & personal goals. Yasmine currently lives in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.