Whether you like it or not, your colleagues are most likely talking about your organization on social media or browsing their timelines during office hours. Sometimes common sense isn’t enough to prevent colleagues from a thoughtless Facebook post or an untimely tweet. A lapse of judgment can turn into a huge problem, which is why it’s time for you to review your organization’s social media policy (you do have one, don’t you?). Here are 10 essentials you need to take into account.
Set boundaries to protect customers
A well-written policy defines the scope and guides the entire process. As you go about drafting the policy ask yourself whether your organization wants multiple policies organized by department or social media network. Keep in mind that your social media policy will be written for general employees. The department responsible for handling social media should have a separate policy.
Prohibit the sharing of confidential information
Set limits to what kinds of company information can be shared online, if any. Because social networks are considered more informal means of communication, your colleagues may be more likely to share information online than they would in-person. To make sure that there are no grey areas, spell out which types of company information may never be shared online.
Encourage employees to identify themselves as representatives of the company
Social media networks give users the option to fill a field with their employer and job title. By doing so, an employee becomes a representative of that company to some extent, and everything they post reflects on the image your organization wants to project. If your social media policy permits employees to identify themselves.
Update employees about copyright laws
If your colleague wants to download a picture from Google images for a company blog post, not all images are free to use under copyright law. It’s important to outline which pictures can be used under which circumstances. It goes without saying that posting another person’s work without permission or reporting the source is not allowed. Postings on social networks should not include company logos or trademarks without asking for permission.
Avoid engaging in arguments or debates
Social media is often a battleground for heated debates, because everyone is free to post their opinion. If your colleagues get into an argument with someone on social media, it can shine a negative light on your organization. Be the bigger person and refuse to engage with people who make derogatory comments about your organization and its products.
Refer back to your company’s handbook and ethics policy
Chances are there’s already something written in the employee handbook about employee behavior. The same rules about etiquette and conduct apply online, too.
Remind about proper social etiquette
Things your colleagues post about the company on social media are visible to everyone. If they wouldn’t say it to their colleagues in-person, then they shouldn’t be making the same remarks online, either.
Don’t forget the permanence of the Internet
What happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet. If your colleagues remember to think before they click, they prevent an embarrassing post following them for the rest of their career.
Instruct employees on when they can use the company name within their social usernames
It’s important to decide when and how your colleagues are allowed to talk about the company on social media. Are they allowed to share a company blog on LinkedIn but not on Facebook? In some instances, it may be a good idea for employees to set up a corporate account to be used for social media activity related to work.
Offer assistance and training
It never hurts to remind your colleagues about appropriate social media use and policy. A training session can help refresh everyone’s memories. Instead of telling your colleagues what they can’t do on social media, make it relevant by explaining that it’s good for business.
Perhaps the most important message from drafting a social media policy is to keep it simple so that your colleagues can easily digest all the information and act within the guidelines of the policy. A social media policy is a win-win situation for everyone in the organization. Management doesn’t have to worry that employees are blasting the organization on the internet and the organization receives brand awareness. It should go without saying that you can upload your revised social media policy to your Effacts database when you’re done.