This month we’ve been looking at creating social media policies for businesses and we’ve taken this opportunity to ask Denise Jennings from Athena HR to create a guest blog with her expert advice.
It’s tricky finding the middle ground between policing what your employees are posting on social media and managing the way they represent your company online.
We might believe in freedom of speech, but just one over-enthusiastic tweet can cause untold problems for your Business.
Lawsuits, embarrassments and staff losses can be avoided with the aid of a simple social media policy. After all, prevention is better than cure.
How do you create a social media policy that everybody in your company will buy into?
Below are my top seven points to bear in mind:
BRAND POSTS AS ‘PERSONAL OPINION’
Give them free rein to post on their own social media channels but with the caveat that their posts are purely their own views and do not reflect those of your company.
Make it clear that any company information should not be disclosed to the online community.
Too many people are quick to post favourite images and quotes without referencing the original sources. There can be serious repercussions for this; make sure that your employees know this, for their own sake as well as for yours.
Of course, nobody in your company would dream of posting racist, sexist, fundamentalist and just plain offensive content. In their private capacity, though, your employees can express their own views. You do not want their naivety to reflect on your brand, so impress on them from the start that this will not be tolerated.
Discourage them from entering into heated debate online – political and religious views, for example, are notorious subjects for online arguments.
BLOGGING FOR THE COMPANY
Make sure that everybody is aware that the company reserves the right to amend or delete any post that is misleading or inaccurate. Best journalistic practice is to verify the information from three different sources before publishing it.
While this might sound harsh, you can assure your well-meaning blogger that your company values their work and upholds their intellectual property rights.
Perhaps appoint one person to proofread and approve every piece of company content before it is published – somebody who knows the social media policy inside out.
SAFETY AND SECURITY ONLINE
Ask for the input of your IT, Legal and Security and Compliance departments. Their advice will reduce the risk of malware, phishing, scams and hacking.
Remind your employees that the tone they use, as well as the content they choose to share, is a powerful reflection on the company.
Paradoxically, these points will encourage your in-house bloggers to post online more, not less. There’s freedom in knowing where the boundaries lie.
Just as with any other company policy you want your employees to know, introduce them to your social media policy with enthusiasm. Your company will soon be bouncing up the search engine pages!
If you would like to discuss a social media policy for your business then please contact Denise Jennings, MD of Athena HR Ltd via email – firstname.lastname@example.org