The use of social media is a hot topic around our office lately. We have a social media policy at 8THIRTYFOUR, it is all of one paragraph and states that employees are expected to engage with our brand, share our content and be good ambassadors. What it fails to get into is the type of content, posts, expectations, etc. to ensure the company brand is protected.
It is important to me that each employee feels free to express their opinions, share their personal stories and utilize social media how they want. However, as a business owner, I also have to manage and protect my brand.
When I rewrite our policy, I will be sure to include the following and I encourage you to do the same.
- Indicate what is confidential to the company. For example, sharing information on a RFP response, client work, financial information, etc. Make sure an employee understands what content they need to ask approval on before sharing. A good rule of thumb is mirroring the content shared on the company social channels.
- What are the consequences? It is fascinating to me the stuff people will share online without considering the ramifications. Social media does not happen in a vacuum, something you share with a few hundred friends can easily go viral. Be sure your employees are clear on the repercussions. Firing? Suspension?
- Encourage an open dialogue. As I said earlier in this blog, we are having this discussion internally. Employees have to feel they can come to you with questions as it relates to social media.
- Social media is a reflection of your culture. I ask employees to use their best judgment and to remember they are ambassadors of our brand. We are a progressive agency and do not shy away from uncomfortable topics, that being said inform, educate and share. Use the platform to appropriately and stop with the damn selfies.
- Avoid the illegal. Nothing much to say about this one, except don’t do it. It is necessary for a company to state “don’t use social media for illegal activities.”
A company’s social media policy should educate employees on usage and give examples of what is and isn’t acceptable.
My advice to employees is, anything you put out there to be seen should be intelligent and well-thought out. Too often we use social media as a passive aggressive way to share our opinions. How about writing a blog and then encouraging the discussion to happen there.