Social media is fast becoming one of the most important components of a company’s marketing strategy. It’s inexpensive, quick and easily accessible. These days, everyone is a publisher, including employees. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on what those employees say about their workplace, as well as how and where they say it. Most companies encourage staff to contribute to their company’s social media sphere but it may be helpful to have some guidelines.
When initially hired, most employees are given lengthy handbooks describing their workplace expectations, prohibited activities, benefits and other company policies. And now, because social media has become so prominent, it may be advisable to have that handbook include a social media policy.
Some companies have written extensive policies; others offer more limited versions. You can search online for company social media policies; from the American Institute of Architects to IBM to Razorfish. As well, an extensive library of policies is available at http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php.
As a small business owner, you may want to make your policy relatively simple. At a minimum, it should cover these points:
- Never say anything negative about the company, co-workers or the competition
- Don’t reveal company secrets or proprietary information
- Avoid content that may pose potential legal implications for you or the company
- Use only appropriate language, good grammar and correct spelling – no profanity, racial, religious or political slurs
- Avoid a “personal agenda” that may promote something other than the company
- Many companies suggest that cell phones are password-protected should they be lost or stolen
Like an employee handbook, social media policies should be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the social media landscape or internal company policies.