Drafting Your Company’s Social Media Policy
By Justin Delos Reyes – Web Success Team
Social media statistics show that more people are registering on sites like Facebook and Twitter every day. According to Econsultancy, Twitter has 175 million registered users, Facebook has 640 million registered users, and there are 100 million professionals registered on LinkedIn. The chances of your employees being active on these sites are relatively high when you consider the statistics. Although they may be active on social media, it doesn’t mean they know how to conduct themselves in a professional manner. And as great as social media is for online marketing, it can hurt your web success if it is used improperly. That is why it is important for companies to create a social media policy that employees can easily digest and comprehend.
What Else Is Social Media?
When most people think of social media, they think of Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. But social media can be more than that. Social media can include community forums, chat services, and social bookmarking sites, among other things. In other words, social media is any website or online application where conversations take place. As you create your company’s social media policy, address what sites, services, and platforms are a part of your brand’s understanding of social media. Your employees need to know what social media is, and what it is made up of, to know how to conduct themselves and represent your brand.
Define “Common Sense”
Most companies implement a “common sense” code of conduct when instructing employees on how to engage with others through social media. But we often hear stories of people getting fired over tweets and brands scrambling to combat unwanted Facebook posts from employees. And every time this happens, we wonder why. Why did that staff member say what he said? Why didn’t he use common sense?
The answer generally comes down to three things: age, diversity, and a lack of professional social media experience. Your staff is composed of people from different races, ethnic groups, and they may be as young as 17 and as old as 60. A young adult’s understanding of common sense is going to be slightly different from a person who has been on the job for 10 years.
Additionally, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are relatively new when you consider how people have communicated with each other since the Web was introduced over 20 years ago. Compiling a list of “common sense” do’s and dont’s is a tedious tasks but it can save your company from the trouble of mobilizing your reputation management team for unwanted posts. Assuming that your employees have the same understanding of common sense is something you want to avoid when dealing with social media.
Create Boundaries For Professional and Personal Use
Social media is a great online marketing tool not just for brands but for people who want to express their own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. It is a fun and entertaining medium and your employees may feel compelled to use it for their own needs on your time.
How will you balance or moderate their social media use in the workplace? Will you allow them to talk about your brand on their personal accounts? Will you require them to create professional profiles to disseminate company messages? Or will you prohibit them from talking about your company all together?
There is no right or wrong strategy to create boundaries for social media use. It all depends on your marketing strategy, how you want to market your company to reach web success, and the freedoms you want to give your employees. Since the boundaries between professional and personal use are often blurred and difficult to moderate, consult with an online marketing agency to discover the pros and cons of the boundaries you want to set.
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May 17th, 2011 21:47 /
I will leave a comment here and on Linkedin. I liked the article, and am currently experiencing all that is social media with my newly obtained Group. It’s quite amazing what can conspire and be present when professionals from all statures gather under one common ground to discuss what is current in their lives. I agree with the persona/professional idea, and have some struggle with those, but only because my business is almost 50% of each aspect, respectively. Thanks for the great article Janette! Keep them coming!
June 2nd, 2011 16:31 /
Thanks for your input, Daniel. Always nice to hear from you