Social media policy helps protect employees, companies

From The Joy of Tech

The Joy of Tech

Social media is a hot topic for marketing departments recently, as marketers focus on developing a strategy to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks to build brand loyalty, engage with consumers and boost customer service. But what about a social media strategy for inside the company?

Every company should establish a social media policy that provides clear guidelines for what is acceptable for employees who use social media either personally or for the company. Establishing a clear policy will help protect a company’s brand from being inadvertently damaged by something an employee posts online.

During the presidential debate, a Kitchen-Aid employee sent a tweet making fun of Obama’s late grandmother. Kitchen-Aid deleted the tweet, apologized and later said, “A member of our Twitter team mistakenly posted an offensive tweet from the KitchenAid handle instead of a personal handle.” The company said the employee would no longer be tweeting for them. This is just one example of how easily an employee’s social media post can cause bad publicity for a company. 

Bad social media posts aren’t always as public as the Kitchen-Aid example. There are many instances of employees who lost their jobs over a social media post that the company felt was a poor representation:

A detailed social media policy helps provide clear guidelines about what is acceptable, sets expectations for employees, allows the company to take action against violations, reduces time dealing with consequences of bad social media use, and reduces the risk and legal exposure for the company.

When writing a social media policy, Poynter offers some tips for creating effective social media guidelines. Examples of social media policies can be viewed on the Social Media Policy Database.

Does your company have a social media policy? What are some of the benefits/drawbacks to the policy? How is it enforced?

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