Do you feel the need to protect your business on social media? Unsure how a social media policy can help? Who can speak for your company on social media?
Your business social media policy needs to make it clear who can or can’t speak on behalf of the company online. Most large companies like American Express and Tesco have policy’s directing staff not to respond to customer complaints online. They have designated social media teams to manage
These policy’s err on the side of caution to avoid misunderstandings that may occur when employees speak on behalf of a company.
Whether your social media policy is strict or relaxed depends on your business and your knowledge of your employees
If you allow staff to have a greater access to your business social media you will need to train your entire staff to engage with customers in a way that maintains the company’s standards.
Create Guidelines for Business and Personal Conduct on Social Media
Your social media policy should provide detailed content guidelines for all your employees who post on social media. To help employees understand your expectations and create a consistent voice for the business you can include standard responses questions, again to limit any misunderstandings.
It is a clever idea to first research possible situations you may deal with o Social Media such as unhappy customers, customers who want a refund, complaints on Yelp, Facebook and others.
Found a conflict?
Conflicts about your business on social media can escalate quickly. Your policy should give employees clear direction about how to respond. During a disagreement, online employees may want to jump into a conversation to defend the company, thinking they are being helpful or doing the right thing, but it’s not a good idea!
Remind employees that anytime they engage in a discussion about the company, whether they’re posting as the business or from their personal accounts they’re representing the company.
To ensure conflicts are handled properly from the start, ask employees to notify you of any potential online conflicts they know of. With this approach, you will dramatically improve your ability to resolve the issue instead of doing extensive damage control.
For Every Don’t, Include a Do
When your social media policy restricts employees from answering customer concerns and questions through social media, many employees will nevertheless want to help address customer concerns.
When you establish ways, your employees shouldn’t comment on behalf of the company also explain what employees should do.
Posting on Personal Accounts
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to have guidelines only for employees who represent your business on social media. You need to set guidelines for your employees to follow on their personal accounts as well. How your employees act out side of work will have a reflection on your own business. If your employees are showing up in the world as questionable characters, people will start to wonder about you, too.
Your policy can reinforce the importance of conduct on personal accounts by explaining how online posts can remain available forever or be shared around the world instantly.
Although you can delete your own posts, someone can take a screenshot of it, and it will spread from there.
Protect Sensitive Business Information
You can’t assume employees know what sensitive information is. Many people have a habit of sharing every aspect of their lives on social media. For these reasons, your policy needs to clarify what business-related information employees shouldn’t share.
Do you want your employees to share locations? Office images? Site images? Some of these shared posts may include sensitive images like business plans, quotes, or other strategy’s.
Your policy needs to prohibit posts that put your business or staff at risk and explain how or why certain information creates a risk. If you run a pizza shop, for example, information about your opening and closing procedures can be considered sensitive information, someone may use this information to stage a robbery or harm an employee.
It’s common for some employees to ignore the idea that they need to behave themselves or act a certain way on their personal social media accounts as a condition of employment.
Every business owner knows implementing rules is more difficult when they alter the way things have always been done. And that rule applies to adding a social media policy to your marketing team’s stack of resources.
If you need to share a new policy with your existing team, just sit down with them and explain what it is and why it’s being implemented.
If you can get them to understand how it supports the business, they’re more likely to accept it without resistance.
A perfect way to handle this situation is by making sure your social media policies are clearly explained to all candidates prior to hiring them. This will give them a heads-up that you have lofty expectations and standards from the start, avoiding the potential for surprises down the road.
Your social media presence is one of the most vital components of your marketing toolbox.
To protect your business, your social media policy should be transparent on all sides and structured in a way that leaves you confident you’re not putting your team at risk.
5 Tips for your social media policy
- Include your social media policy in your new staff welcome packs
- Update it as new social media accounts are developed
- Review staff social media posts
- Ensure more than one person can access social media accounts, in case something needs to be deleted.
- Review policy each quarter to identify issues.