Where before social media was a popular way to reconnect with old classmates and stay connected with family and friends, it’s now a popular way for companies to stay linked with their customers and find new ones who might be interested in their products or services. With the speed at which online information can spread and the ease of accessing that information, it’s a good idea to update your company social media policy for the benefit of your employees, yourself and your company.
Realize the Depth of the Territory
What you and your employees may or may not realize is that more data than ever before is being collected on social media, and that includes private and sensitive financial, personal and company information. The challenge with social media policies is that you want one that doesn’t completely restrict how your employees use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media tools, but you also want them to be wholly aware of the impact of what they post.
Know Which Platform to Use and When
Something else to think about with updating your company social media policy is that you want your employees to use the right type of social media platform when sharing specific types of information. For instance, Twitter is better suited for short bursts of text while Facebook isn’t the best platform to use to ask for sensitive information, be it through message or post. Sit your employees down and make sure everyone understands which platforms to use for different discussions and data.
No matter how laid back your work environment might be, employees need to be exceedingly careful of how they present themselves and the company online. Seemingly innocent information might lead to an avoidable scandal or incident. Something else to think about is that employees are likely to do a lot of social media posting on their smartphones, which don’t have the same security measures as computers.
Employees should also remember they are representations of the company, and as such they should remain formal in all public discourse. Additionally, encourage your employees to use spell check and adhere to the basic rules of grammar as part of the new company social media policy. Customers may be hesitant to do business with a company whose employees don’t know the difference between your and you’re.
The 5 Rs of Social Media
As you’re talking with your employees about proper social media decorum, you might also want to explore the 5 Rs of social media with them:
With reason, employees should use the same reasonable etiquette online they would use offline. Much of the angst and frustration with social media has to do with overlooking simple manners and proper etiquette. Remind employees to always ask themselves if they would say something to someone’s face before they post it online. In regards to representing themselves, it’s best that employees not use anonymous profiles when those profiles are for company use. The reason for this is anonymous profiles are often met with negativity. Think about it: you like to see the person you’re talking to in day-to-day physical interactions, and the same is true of online interactions.
Respect is a large part of any company social media policy. Remind employees that anything they say online becomes part of the online public record, which is why it’s called social media and not private media. Even though they may delete a tweet or Facebook post, there’s no telling who may have taken a screenshot of the tweet or post before it was deleted. This ties back to employees remembering etiquette when using social media.
For responsibility, employees should make sure any company information they share is factually accurate and worded in a way that can’t be misconstrued or misunderstood. Not only that, but information shared online should also not violate your company’s legal guidelines.
As for the restraint aspect of your company social media policy, your employees should give themselves a cooling off period before they post anything when their emotions are running high. So many mishaps occur online and offline because people say or do things when they’re upset or angry. This often results in an apology, feelings of guilt, frayed friendships and regret. By taking a few minutes to pause and reread a post or tweet before sending it, your employees can save themselves, and possibly your company, a tarnished reputation.
The next time you’re in need of more suggestions on improving the social media policy for your company or other methods for building a better business, be sure to check out the tools and articles on Mighty Recruiter.