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.
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.”