Of Social Media Policies and Posts

Social media of today is certainly not the same as it was ten or even 5 years ago, and our uses and expectations of the medium have likewise changed.

According to a 2020 Pew Research Study, nearly ¾ of adults use social media before, during or after their workday, and 7 out of 10 adults use Facebook. HubSpot states that almost ¾ of marketers invest in social media marketing.

Almost every organization has a written social media policy that employees must agree to and sign upon employment – and if you don’t have one, perhaps it’s time you did.

Here are a few tips and considerations as you develop – or revisit – your company social media policy:

  • Define the “why” and share it across departments:  To set a clearly defined policy, protect the company, protect your employees.
  • Be sure to include certain elements, such as security and privacy rules, copyright and fair use, ethical expectations, and expectations of etiquette.
  • Consider your ethics:  Both employee (when writing/responding on social media) and employer (be careful what you actually require and be sure you “can” and “should.”)
  • Customer service strategy:  Do you require some or all of your employees to post on social media or act as “brand ambassadors”? What does this look like? How much oversight is there? Be certain that employees acting as spokes-people disclose their relationship to your company in their posts. And – be certain you are constantly communicating with these employees to provide them current and accurate information.
  • Studies have proven that too much oversight stifles creativity, so be careful not to micromanage; have faith in your employee ambassadors to follow your policy once they agree to it.
  • Allow space for authenticity:  it’s not a new buzz-word, it’s the direction social media has taken. Don’t over-regulate your employees’ conversations and allow individual personalities to shine. That is what helps build relationships through a computer screen.
  • Data-sharing is a two-way street. Be sure that the company ensures employees that their information won’t be disclosed on social media – just as you expect certain company information to remain confidential.
  • Encourage feedback. Employees should know where to go with questions or issues that arise when posting on social media – and feel safe doing so.
  • Company leaders or the HR department should keep everyone updated if a policy changes, or if a crisis may impact the content or message responses required on social accounts.
  • Keep it simple. A one-page policy is sufficient for Fortune 500s like Ford and Dell. Chances are, you don’t need any more.

Finally, consider that you’ve hired an employee because they fit into your company’s culture and reflect your company’s values. Having a comprehensive social media policy in place as part of an overall code of conduct is simply smart business that protects the company and the employee.