September 18, 2017

Why your staff need a social media policy

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Published: 18 September 2017 

Do you want to protect the reputation of your brand? Worried about rogue employees and what they’re saying online? Maybe it’s time you consider having a social media policy.

Introducing a social media policy for your employees can be a tricky issue. After all, people have the right to freedom of speech and should be able to post their opinions on social media. However, you want your employees to be the best representation of the brand. When posting on social media, it often doesn’t take much for a simple tweet to get noticed and retweeted. This can end up gaining a lot of attention and damaging the reputation of your business. To avoid this happening, it’s best to introduce a social media policy.

So why exactly should you create a social media policy?

1. It creates a designated speaker

This is particularly important if your business is frequently in the news. You don’t want all of your employees posting their opinions on sensitive issues online and potentially making a problem worse. To avoid this happening, you can designate a staff member to be the person who responds to any queries online. This can either be through the business’ own social media profiles or through their personal account. Doing this means you and your staff will know exactly who should be answering questions.

2. It creates a culture for the brand

People may monitor your brand, and will not only see the business’ page, but also that of the employees. It is good to have a lot mentions of the brands name, but not if the employees personal accounts conflict with that of the brands. Creating a social media policy can outline what your business considers to be acceptable content to post and share online. This way, you’ll avoid any damage to the brand’s reputation, while also allowing employees to freely express themselves online.

3. Raise awareness of the brand

Social media policies don’t just have to be about what content employees should avoid posting. It can also be about what they should be encouraged to post. If you want to raise awareness of your brand, you should encourage your employees to comment and share content the brand posts on social media. This will increase the number of brand mentions and help to drive traffic to your pages and website.

4. It helps to educate employees

Having a formal social media policy will help employees know what is and isn’t acceptable for them to post online. For example, if you work for the government or politicians, you are often restricted from posting your own political opinions. If this is stated in writing, employees are more likely to follow the rules and have a better understanding of what they cannot post. Make sure all employees are given your social media policy and completely understand it. This avoids people claiming plausible deniability for posting banned content.

5. Employees know how to engage with others online

Sometimes it’s hard to avoid wanting to get into a debate with someone online. When their opinion differs from yours, it can be tempting to write back a witty response. However, the problem happens when employees are sending insults to others online. This can come across as bullying, which is something no brand wants to be associated with. Make sure your social media policy outlines language which is and isn’t appropriate. Some may recommend to avoid swearing or using offensive language or insults.

Now you know why you should have a social media policy, the next step is to implement your own policy. So what are some tips for how you can implement a successful social media policy in your business?

  • Think about every situation. Don’t just provide a blanket policy. Think about all the different situations that could happen. Customers complaining, bad reviews, threats or even slander are some examples.
  • They represent the business. Make sure new employees are aware their online actions represent the business. This will help staff members to be more thoughtful about what they post online.
  • Train your staff. If necessary, undertake training days so your employees are aware of the company’s standards and can easily abide by them.
  • Don’t be restrictive. Employees may be hesitant to embrace a policy that is completely restrictive on their behaviour. Remember to include positive points within your policy, such as what employees are encouraged to share online.  

It can be difficult to implement a new set of rules employees have to follow, particularly when it affects their personal lives and online expression. However, if you don’t, you risk damaging the reputation of your brand due to the opinions of rogue employees. Social media now plays a huge part in many businesses strategies. Introducing a social media policy for employees is a step in managing your brand mentions and social media reputation.  

Got any other tips? Let us know in the comments.

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

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