Time to review your social media policy?

Kerrie-Anne Chinn, Content & Editorial Manager

This month, it’s a good idea to set aside some time to make sure your company’s social media policy is up-to-date.

Social media certainly has its benefits in the business world, allowing us to connect like never before, and increasing the diversity and volume of recruitment. There’s no doubt that using social media in the right way can raise more awareness of your organisation and what it does. But the world of social media can also have its downside.

We’ve seen many brands damage their reputations – and profits – through social media mishaps. We’ve also heard the stories of workers being fired for their careless use of social media. And with new social media platforms appearing on the scene all the time, it’s important to know the potential risks they could have for your company and employees.

The fact is, your social media policy must be as fast-paced and fluid as social media itself, to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the digital landscape. That’s why it’s so important that all businesses, large and small, make sure their social media policy is regularly reviewed and updated. So when did you last review your policy?

Review Your Social Media Policy Annually

Meghan M. Biro, founder and CEO of TalentCulture Consulting Group, is a firm believer in annual reviews for corporate social media policies, recommending that companies update their policy at least on an annual basis to reflect industry changes, avoid legal troubles and protect company secrets.

Biro also points out that only 51 percent of people said their employers have social media guidelines.

Developing a social media policy and keeping it up to date will ensure that your employees are aware of what they can and cannot do, help your company avoid violating any rules and ultimately serve to cover the company's you-know-what,” she says.

The Risks of Social Media for Your Company

In a previous article, we’ve talked at length about why you need a good social media policy for your organisation.

These days, with much of our life being documented online, there is a thinner line between what’s private and public. Many people include details of their occupation and employer on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, meaning anything that is posted on social media could be seen to reflect that company’s organisational values.

Whether you like it or not, the way in which your employees use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms can have an impact on the professional and ethical reputation of your organisation. It can also lead to serious legal ramifications and security risks for the company.

Protecting Company Data and Information

Things can become even more complex when it comes to protecting sensitive or confidential information. How can you know, or control, what content employees are posting on social media?

To avoid any risk from this kind of situation, it’s vital for all businesses to have a strong social media policy in place, outlining guidelines and expected behaviour from their employees.

A good social media policy will help to define what’s appropriate for staff to post about their company on social media channels. Having clearly defined guidelines means all employees know the difference between what’s appropriate and not appropriate to discuss on social media. This information will need to be regularly updated as the business grows and develops.

Your social media policy can also help to safeguard sensitive data from potential hackers and scams. This is really important if you’ve got employees working remotely, or bringing their own devices into work.

Make Sure All Staff are Aware of Your Social Media Policy

Your social media policy should be part of a company-wide training plan that includes everyone in your organisation.

Biro raises a good point: “Just because Sarah is a Millennial, who works in marketing and Joe is a boomer toiling away on the factory floor, don’t assume that Joe knows nothing about social media, and Sarah is the digital native.”

These days, expect employees of all generations and backgrounds to be using social media. The best way to make sure that all staff are aware of the policy and its guidelines is to run social media training.

Basic social media training will let your team know how you expect them to represent your brand online, and what they can and cannot talk about. You’ll be able to make sure staff are familiar with the key points in your social media policy, as well as who to contact if they have any questions or are unsure of what’s appropriate.

Using an online platform to deliver your social media training will help you reach all staff, regardless of geographic location. You can also find plenty of good online courses that will help you in creating your own social media policy.

Take a look at this short one-hour course on Developing a Social Media Policy. This eLearning course is useful for anyone wanting to know more about protecting their business and employees while using social media. You’ll also receive a free social media policy example for you to download at the end.

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