In today’s digital age, social media has become an integral part of our lives, both personally and professionally. A global analysis of social media usage found that 74% of North America use social media, along with a whopping 84% of Western and Northern Europe.
It is therefore no secret that a company’s social media strategy can play a huge role in the success of their business. That’s why it is so important for employers to establish and implement a well-defined social media policy, as it will help to provide a clear framework for employees’ online behavior, protecting both the company’s reputation and the rights of its workforce. After all, 68% of consumers follow brands on social media to stay informed about products and services, so ensuring that your message is consistent across the board is imperative for strengthening the bottom line.
Here's what every employer’s social media policy should cover:
- Protect Brand Reputation – a brand’s image can be easily tarnished by an employee’s careless or inappropriate social media activities. Ensure that your social media policy establishes guidelines for employees on how to represent the company online, as this will allow for the content being shared to align with your brand values.
- Legal Risks – there are numerous legal risks associated with social media, including harassment, discrimination, defamation, and intellectual property violations. Your policy needs to be clear and concise about what is considered unacceptable behavior and the consequences for said behavior in order to mitigate these risks.
- Evolving Trends – your social media policy needs to be flexible enough to adapt to the constant changes and evolutions that take place in the world of social media. With new platforms and trends emerging all the time, it is important to keep this policy regularly updated and refreshed.
- Professionalism – social media policies should reinforce the importance of maintaining a professional online presence, including clauses about avoiding hate speech, discriminatory language, or inappropriate content that can come across poorly.
- Privacy Boundaries – privacy is a significant and legitimate concern in the digital era, so your policy must educate employees about respecting company and personal privacy. By establishing clear boundaries, you will mitigate the risk of confidential information being inadvertently shared or mishandled, therefore safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining trust amongst your team.
While a social media policy can at first glance seem restrictive, it can actually have positive effects on employee engagement. By providing guidelines for online interactions, employees can feel more confident in their social media usage knowing they are representing their employer in a good light, subsequently leading to increased job satisfaction and fostering employee loyalty.
Additionally, in times of crisis, a social media policy can be an invaluable tool. It can offer guidance on how to address and respond to negative situations (such as customer complaints or public relations challenges).
If you would like to discuss how we can help your company craft a strong and effective social media policy, please get in touch with us!