Encouraging your employees to be brand advocates helps improve your reputation, drives more enquiries and influences the decision-making process of your prospective buyers. However, it’s only a positive thing if it’s done right.
We’ve all read the horror stories where brands suddenly find themselves the subject of media attention for all the wrong reasons. Introducing a social media policy will mitigate social media risks but we believe that companies can go further than just using governance.
They can teach employees what advocacy looks like; engage them in creating mutually beneficial content and reduce the chance of them using social media as an outlet for work-related frustration.
Here are our 5 social media policy dos and don’ts to keep you out of trouble:
1. Do position your policy
Tell your employees why you’ve introduced a social media policy. This isn’t about policing what they do, it’s about protecting their personal brand as much as the corporate one. Make sure the tone-of-voice you use in the policy echoes this: keep it conversational and don’t confuse with jargon.
2. Do educate on etiquette
Inappropriate social media use can be similar to road rage: if you wouldn’t treat people like that face to face, then you shouldn’t do so in an online forum. Anger, breach of confidentiality, copying others’ content are all a big no-no, as is anything dishonorable related to sex, gender, religion, race or ethnicity. Respect your audience, whether real or virtual.
3. Do set boundaries for business
Anything which constitutes formal business decisions should be kept offline. Employees should never commit the company to any deliverables or respond directly to complaints or comments about products or services. These are topics that need to be dealt with formally within the bounds of the company’s processes and procedures.
4. Don’t avoid the ‘oops’ moments
By addressing what to do in the event of a social media mistake being made, you avoid it being swept under the carpet. If an employee accidentally posts something inappropriate, it’s much better addressed and handled immediately to minimise reputational risks. What goes on social stays on social so it’s no good deleting all evidence and hoping for the best.
5. Don’t be shy!
If you’ve gone to the trouble of creating a social media policy, make sure it’s easily accessible. Social media is omnipresent: your policy should be too. Make sure it’s part of your onboarding process, leave copies in the canteen, do a desk drop. People need ample chance to see, read and understand the policy and how important it is to all of them. And consider some additional training to present employees with examples and case studies to illustrate good and bad behaviours - our Social Practitioner interactive eLearning course does just this.
There’s an increasingly fuzzy line between work and personal social media use so your people need to have this advice in the back of their mind at all times.
For a full how-to guide for managing employee risk and brand reputational risks online, download our free Social Media Policy eBook.