Photo cred: HR examiner

Do You Need a Social Media Policy?

You expect your employees not to badmouth your company when they’re at the bar, and you might even have an HR policy explaining such behavior; however, how do you control your employees’ actions when the majority of them have mobile devices and the power to ruin your reputation at the tip of their fingers? If you’ve seen any of the employee-run-amuck horror stories online (like the video above), then you probably know it’s important to have your bases covered in a social media policy — an outline for your employees to reference when interacting online.

A social media policy can ensure your reputation stays intact, helps to avoid any murky legal issues for your company, as well as your employees, and makes clear consequences of actions. While it’s important for your staff to understand NOT to use their personal accounts (or their access to your professional platforms) to the detriment of the company (like these Domino’s and Taco Bell workers), your social media policy doesn’t have to just be a list of restrictions. In fact, we think just the opposite.

Photo credit: Triton
Photo credit: Triton

Have dozens of employees? Hundreds? If two-thirds of Americans have a profile on (multiple) social networking sites, then why not use that to your benefit? Christopher Penn of Shift Communications offers this food for thought in his article:

The odds of any given employee having a social media account are 2 out of 3, from the mail-room clerk to the CEO. Think about that for a moment. More importantly, with smartphone penetration reaching 61% of the population, chances are employees are reaching social networks on their own data plans and networks. This means that social network usage, which traditionally could be monitored or blocked at the IT infrastructure level, increasingly eludes corporate control.

Don’t be defeated by this, though! Allowing your workforce to use social media for your company is an amazing way to increase brand awareness. With clear guidelines and a designated person with whom employees can bring questions or concerns, your social policy can actually encourage the use of social media. As long as they use their best judgment, respect copyrights and other legalities, and interact with others online accordingly, you could raise your brand’s reputation and increase recognition without the worry and stress of a completely restrictive social policy. It’s a win-win.

To learn more about a social media policy, read these articles here and here, and if you have any stories to share of successful social media interactions by employees, share in the comments section!