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The Importance of a Social Media Policy in your Business

Posted on August 27 2015 | Author: Bethany Witvoet

Earlier this summer I was tasked with creating a social media policy. While doing so, I learned a lot about how important it is to have one in your business.

While browsing news headlines, I found a ton of stories related to social media and the workplace. A few years back, Virgin Atlantic fired 13 employees for posting disloyal content on Facebook that criticized Virgin’s safety standards and offended it’s passengers.  Similarly, an employee was fired from the Broofield Zoo very recently because of a racist post on Facebook taken place at work and in her uniform.

 

Policies provide clear guidelines and support

Policies are the building blocks to any corporation. They provide structure and guidance to each and every employee.  

Social media is drastically changing the way individuals and organizations communicate. It’s important that employees who use social media, use it in a way that enhances the company’s prospects, or at least doesn’t diminish them.  A misinterpreted status update can easily generate complaints or damage the company’s reputation.

A social media guide clarifies standards of behaviour in which employees can use social media professionally and effectively.

 

Policies help manage risks

It is important to keep confidential company information protected. Therefore it is critical that clear guidelines are made about sharing private information online in order to mitigate risks involved with online activity.

Ensure that your social media policy includes that all confidential company information is never communicated or made publically or privately viewable on social media sites. Regardless of privacy settings, online information is accessible and can easily be placed in the wrong hands.

Policies protect company reputation

Users should always be careful discussing things they wouldn’t want their boss to see. Posting information that is disloyal could severely damage your company’s reputation (like those 13 employees at Virgin Atlantic). Setting clear guidelines against this is crucial in maintaining a good company reputation.

If there are no guidelines set in place against this, any posts by employees that harm the company’s reputation will be without consequence. In order to prevent the spread of disloyal information, guidelines must be set in place.

 

Policies assist with networking and awareness

Social media policies do not always have to be a long list of boring restriction. There is a lot of potential in using social media to your advantage.  

Social media is very important for building relationships with current and potential clients. It is an effective way to distribute marketing and communications, build an online brand and business profile, as well as stay connected with valued networks. It is also a great tool for employees to make useful connections, share ideas, and have discussions, whether it is work related or personal.

Illustrate ways in your social media policy for employees to use social media to their advantage whether it be for their personal social media use, or for company use.

 

Policies increase productivity

In the long run, policies actually increase productivity as issues are mitigated and therefore resulting in saved time.

Establishing a social media policy reduces lost time spent dealing with unauthorized usage or inappropriate behaviour online. Instead of dealing with the consequences of conflicts related to social media use, employees will be educated on your organization’s expectations for online professionalism and potential issues will be prevented.

 

And remember, no policy is alike

It is important to keep in mind that all policies need to be structured to perfectly fit your company.

Virgin Atlantic’s social media policy is different than Bioenterprise’s; Apple’s social media policy is different than McDonald’s. Your policy needs reflect your company’s business profile and online strategies in order to fulfill all of your company needs

Bethany Witvoet
Marketing and Events Assistant

Photo: Pixabay, Dilbert.com
References: http://mediabuzz.com.sg/asian-emarketing?catid=0&id=787

 






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