Encouraging your employees to be brand advocates on social media can help further your brand awareness, reputation, and influence the decision-making process of your prospective buyers and potential future employees. Employee advocacy is therefore becoming an increasingly popular marketing strategy to drive more business growth. But it’s only a positive thing if it’s done right.
Since this blog was first written nearly three years ago, the employee advocacy landscape has changed. It’s gone from a place of infancy to one where many organisations have expanded social beyond marketing to other departments. The lines between personal and professional boundaries have begun to blur and the current climate has made social media a more controversial place.
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 can help mitigate social media risks and at Tribal, we believe that your company’s social media policy should go further than just governance.
Here Are Our 5 Social Media Policy Do's And Don’ts To Keep You Out Of Trouble:
We believe a social media policy can teach employees what great employee advocacy looks like and show them why they should care. Your social media policy should guide employees to desired behaviours by outlining the risks of saying the wrong thing on social media, instead of trying to stifle their freedom of speech.
1. Do Explain Why
Tell your employees why you’ve introduced a social media policy. Tell them that it isn’t about policing what they do - that it’s about protecting their personal brand as much as the corporate one. Make sure the tone-of-voice you use in your policy echoes this: keep it conversational and don’t confuse them with jargon.
2. Do Educate On Etiquette
Inappropriate social media use can be similar to road rage. It’s worth reminding them to take a step back and think: Would I treat someone like this face to face? If not, then they shouldn’t do so in an online forum. They should respect their audience, whether real or virtual. Anger and anything dishonourable related to sex, gender, religion, race or ethnicity are a big no-no.
3. Do Set Boundaries For Business
Anything that 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 (unless they’re part of a dedicated team to do so). These are topics that need to be dealt with formally within the bounds of the company’s processes and procedures. They should also be reminded not to breach confidentiality or copy others’ content.
4. Don’t Avoid The ‘Oops’ Moments
If an employee accidentally posts something inappropriate, it’s much better addressed and handled at once to minimise reputational risks. What goes on social stays can go viral, so you can't delete the evidence and hope for the best; a screen shot might come back to haunt you. Your social media policy should address what to do if and when a social media mistake is made by an employee.
5. Make It Easy To Access And Action
If you’ve gone through the trouble of creating a social media policy, make sure it’s easily accessible by your employees. 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 and ensure its front and centre on your company intranet. People need ample chance to see, read and understand the policy and how important it is to all of them.
And consider some additional social media training to present employees with examples and case studies to illustrate good and bad behaviours - our Social Practitioner interactive eLearning course does just this.
With the increasingly fuzzy line between work and personal social media use now is the perfect time to refresh your social media policy. If you approach your social media policy in the right way, you can turn a risk into an opportunity to reignite a passion for your employee advocacy program too.
Editors Note: This blog was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated to refresh the knowledge and accuracy of “5 essential social media policy do's and don’ts”.