As social media continues to grow and prove itself as more than a passing fad, more and more businesses are implementing social media policies. Just yesterday, I was reading about the NBA’s new social media policy that is to be applied for this season, governing how players and management are allowed to use social media.
Does your business have a social media policy in affect? Or are you part of the over 33% of companies lacking this important brand-protecting policy?
Whether you already have an existing policy or you need to create a new one, here are some things you should be sure to include in your business’ social media policy.
• Time of social media use—The most obvious concern about having employees who use social media is that it will impact their productivity during the work day. That’s certainly an understandable concern as it’s easy to waste hours browsing around on Twitter, Facebook, or reading blogs. Make sure your social media policy clearly explains when and for how long employees are allowed to engage in social media activities.
• Subjects allowed to be discussed—There’s something to be said for “what happens in the office, stays in the office.” You don’t want your employees leaking sensitive company information or complaining about internal practices they don’t agree with. Outline which topics your employees are allowed to talk about online. This helps to ensure your business isn’t undermined by a loose-lipped employee.
• Who is allowed to use social media—Do you want all of your employees engaging in social media on behalf of your company? Or would you rather leave it to a handful of highly trusted individuals who will act as the online face of your business? Determine who is allowed to engage in social media, and enforce the policy strictly.
• Restrictions on personal use—Many businesses regulate official social media use, but they ignore the informal, at-home employee use of it. This can be a dangerous practice. Imagine this: An employee has a personal Twitter account, and it’s well known that he works for your company. Then, the employee gets drunk one night and starts Tweeting offensive, harassing comments. Even though it’s a personal account, it still reflects poorly on your business. If you do decide to allow private use of social media outside of work, you need to determine whether or not the employees are allowed to reveal their employment online.
Don’t be afraid to use social media in your business. Embrace it. The benefits of doing so are endless. Just make sure you take the time to train your employees on how to properly use social media, and make sure you have a clear social media strategy for success.
What is your business’ social media policy? Share your tips in the replies.