Having a social media policy in place is simply good business sense for any organization. Without some regulation of social media usage during or related to your company, you could end up with employees harming your reputation — or even your bottom line — when they make damaging public statements or posts. For example, employees can (and have):
- Talked on social media about how bored they are on the job
- Uploaded poorly made, over-expositional videos about their company
- Discussed and badmouthed customers, co-workers, and supervisors
- Spilled the beans about product launches that haven’t been made public
Clearly, there is a need for at least a basic social media policy. But how much is too much — how far should you restrict what your employees say online?
The problem with social media policies
Social media is a great way to brand your organization, interact with customers, and broaden your influence — as long as your employees aren’t sabotaging your efforts. But if you institute rigid and highly restricted policies regarding what can and cannot be posted on social media, most of your employees will play it safe by not saying anything at all online. This means you’ll lose the powerful force of brand ambassadors your employees could become.
A good social media policy strikes a balance between prohibitive and creative, allowing for freedom of expression while exerting a self-policing effect that helps your employees remember to think before they post.
The basics of social media policies
While social media policies will vary from organization to organization, depending on the industry, level of operational complexity, number of employees, and other factors, there are basic elements they should include as a minimum:
- Guidelines for what employees should post online
- Information on what is considered inappropriate content
- Rules for preventing abuse (of individuals and the organization)
The right social media policy can dispel confusion and anxiety, allowing your employees to express themselves more clearly and confidently as part of the organization.
Establishing a social media policy your employees won’t hate
Here’s how to create policies around social media that won’t leave your employees groaning, or scare them away from becoming positive online influences for your company:
- Keep your employees engaged. While handing down iron-clad, restricting directives on social media use will severely limit or even erase employee participation, offering no guidelines at all can also result in disinterest. The implementation of a balanced social media policy encourages employees to use social media responsibly and appropriately, and gives them standards to follow.
- Create great content and invite them to share. The same rules for engaging your audience online also apply to gaining positive and proactive employee participation in social media. You can and should encourage employees to share company content with their social media circles — but if your content is dry, corporate, and boring, or overly promotional, they probably won’t want to.
- Permit a degree of freedom. Hopefully, you’ve hired employees you can trust, which means you should trust them enough to permit some latitude with social media content. Once you’ve established some guidelines regarding social media “dos and don’ts,” stand back and allow your trusted employees to follow those guidelines without forcing them to run everything through “approved” channels first.
Repressive and overly complicated social media policies can stunt the growth of your online social channels, but clear guidelines with built-in freedoms and encouragement can engage your employees and get them on board to spread positive social messaging.
If you need help implementing a social media policy, or for answers to any of your other staffing industry questions, contact the experts at The Armada Group today. We have expert knowledge in what it takes to form solid business plans and keep employees engaged with their work environment in the Silicon Valley area and throughout the U.S..