Why You Need a Social Media Policy in Your Organization

In a previous post called Implement a Social Media Policy: Make Your Employees Brand Ambassadors, Marina introduced what a Social Media Policy is and briefly described why it is important for your organization. In this article, I’m going to elaborate further on the importance of a policy and point out the main reasons why it’s crucial for you as an employer, for your employees and for your brand to have such a policy.


Protecting your brand and business

Social media is great – it gives you great potential of reaching many people at lower cost. It never sleeps and it has no limitations. But how many stories have we already heard about having a brand reputation destroyed in seconds because of an inappropriate post made by an employee?

Having a Social Media Policy or so-called “How to Safely Use Social Media Guidelines” will help your business or brand in the following way:

  • Employees will gain knowledge on which kind of content that is allowed and not least valuable for your business to be shared.
  • Chances that legal cases connected with dismissal from work stemming from social media use will be significantly decreased.
  • Reduce the possibility of reputation damage caused by inappropriate material that has been posted.
  • Ensure that no confidential information and/or trade secrets, intellectual property, client information etc. is lost.
  • Having a clear policy on when and how social media should be used will have a positive impact on the productivity in the workplace.


Educating and guiding employees to being “ambassadors”

Rather than unconsciously damaging your company’s reputation, a proper Social Media Policy with clear guidance about what is allowed to do and say and what is prohibited, can encourage interaction and engagement from the employees. Nowadays, according to the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, one of three job seekers would choose social media freedom at work over salary when considering a job offer. Furthermore, 56% of University students would not accept a job offer if they found out the company banned social media. Thus, instead of limiting your employees and decreasing their level of job satisfaction, give them the possibility to become ambassadors for your brand and add value to your organization.


Reputation Management

A Social Media Policy may outline how your business deals with customer feedback (positive and negative) on social media. The policy may also put in place processes that instruct customer service employees on how to deal with these situations. These processes may involve everything from timing to tone. Generally, every negative post should be seen as an opportunity for an organization to improve. A good example of how to handle customer feedback is the so-called Social Media Triage that is an “if this, then that” flow chart embedded into your Social Media Policy. It will help you make wise decisions on whether an event is escalating to the point where it needs a response or it should be monitored without further action.

As Nigel Crebbin, Employment Partner at a law firm in Berg, states:“Many HR managers know that they need to put a social media policy in place, and some will already have had one drafted. But all of that effort is useless if the policy is just left sitting in a drawer. To best protect your business, you need not only to get a well drafted policy in place, but you also need to keep it regularly updated and ensure that your employees are properly trained with regard to it.”



Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.


Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.


Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.


At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.