Why do we Need a Social Media Policy?
Does your company interact with customers via email or on the web? Then it’s likely that your company has an online policy that directs you how to collect, use and store customers’ information. But does your company have policies or guidelines that govern how to use social media to engage and interact with your customers?
Social media opens up new prospects for communication with customers, but it also brings an element of risks like data leaks, privacy breaches, sharing of images, or posting any confidential information.
Crafting a social media policy or code of conduct can help protect your business and your employees. Social Media Policy assists employees for use of social media for business purposes including blogs, wikis, message boards, online forums, social networking sites and other online networks that permit employees to share information with others.
What to Include in Company’s Social Media Policy?
Good policies make it very clear that individual employee is responsible for what they post online and those posts can reflect negatively upon their company. A few companies take a strict approach and completely obstruct workers from discussing their work. Companies remind their employees that their words and actions have consequences that can damage the company. Let’s explore few more additional points on professional use of social media on behalf of Company, as well as personal use of social media:
1. Employees need to know and adhere to the Company’s Code of Conduct, while using social media, in reference to Company.
2. Employees should be aware that the information they post or publish, may be public information for a long time. So companies should ban sharing of trade secrets, no matter how minor as that can cause damage to your company.
3. Effective time management: Companies should discourage the extended use of social media during work time.
4. Employees should not post or release any information that is confidential. Check with the Human Resources Department or supervisors, if there are questions regarding the confidentiality of any information.
5. Use of Social media shouldn’t interfere with employee’s responsibilities at Company. Use of social media for business purposes is allowed ex: blogs and LinkedIn, but personal use of social media or personal blogging should be discouraged.
6. Social media networks, blogs and others, sometimes generate press and media attention or legal questions. Employees should refer these inquiries to authorized person.
7. Monitoring: Make sure that the company keeps an eye on employees’ social media presence.
8. It is highly recommended that employees should have separate professional and personal accounts.
Social Media Policy is a delicate balancing act. Companies don’t have to be overly restrictive, but they shouldn’t be too lenient, either. It’s all about keeping company productive, safe and secure, while simultaneously keeping the employees happy. Having social media policy in place is not so important, but the next step, which is more critical, is to train their employees. I will deal with this topic in the next blog.