You won’t be surprised to learn that almost 80% of employees access social media whilst at work. Others guestimate that this figure could be considerably higher. It’s important to consider the impact this could have on your business brand., particularly if staff are working from home.
But where do the lines blur between personal and company use? How can you ensure that your company’s reputation won’t be affected by your employees’ use of social media, and more importantly, do you have any control over it?
It’s time to create a social media policy
Many of our clients ask whether they really need to create a social media policy. The answer is a resounding, yes! It has never been more important for businesses to cover themselves and put a social media policy in place. This will clearly state your position on staff use of social media whether on the company’s time or during their own.
We recommend you set out simple, straightforward guidance for all staff to refer to. Involve them in it, canvass opinions on what they would like to be able to do, and work out whether it is realistic. Why not hold a brief (remote) workshop with employees once it’s complete to explain to them in person what it means, and how it will affect them?
What should a social media policy include?
- Focus on the culture of the business. Is social media relevant to your business? Does your company benefit from staff use (for example, are they promoting the business)? Remember, you’re aiming to protect both your business and your employees in your policy; so give examples that relate directly to your business to help them understand.
- Create your brand guidelines. This will keep your social media channels consistent and give your staff a clear foundation if they are tasked with posting.
- Include legal elements to cover confidential information about the company. Be clear on what constitutes misuse with easy-to-understand examples.
- Focus on both personal and business use of social media. This will allow you to clearly specify where the difference lies. Be realistic and think back to your company culture, is it beneficial for your business to allow staff free access?
- Be responsible for what you write. If you are allowing employees to post or blog, then make sure they use a disclaimer that sets them apart from your business. For example, “The views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not reflect the views of my employer.”
- Think about company posting procedures. If you have a member, or members, of the team posting on your behalf, have you considered a mechanism to allow you to check what’s being written? If you already have a Social Media Manager, then this won’t affect you. However, if various members of the team are managing your channels, possibly not as a priority, then you may want to think about it. This is easily rectified by using a content schedule or software that allows multiple users to access the content at any one time (such as ContentCal, Hootsuite or Buffer).
- Include privacy settings. Make sure your employees are using the correct privacy settings on their personal accounts, particularly if they are sharing private photos that potential customers or competitors could access.
- Clarify the boundaries of personal use. If your employees would rather spend more time on social media breaks than actually working, then this is something your policy needs to address. Think about where you stand on staff checking their accounts; how much time is acceptable?
WhatsApp at work
As most teams work remotely, we’ve got a free WhatsApp policy for you to download.
If you would like more information or advice on preparing a Social Media Policy, please let us know and we would be delighted to help. Alternatively, read our 10 most common HR challenges for small businesses.