How can I protect my company on social media?

Why do I need a social media policy?

So we’re almost at the end of the hearts, the employee relations section of our 52 top tips for employers. Today it’s the queen of hearts and it’s all about social media. 

Companies need to think about what they will and will not allow their staff to do, in terms of social media in the workplace. Do employees have access to company accounts? And if so, what are the rules around the use of that account? If employees comment on a day at the office, what are the implications for your business and for your clients in reputation, with clients, suppliers, and existing or potential employees. A clear, well thought through policy is essential to enable appropriate use of social media for your business. 

More and more businesses are leveraging the power of social media. It is one of the most powerful marketing tools around, just look at these videos that I’m doing. But the way in which it’s used, who has access to company accounts, what people are allowed to post and who controls those accounts and those passwords to those accounts are things that as an employer, you really, really need to think about. I heard a story recently of somebody who’d built up a personal LinkedIn profile over a number of years, and when they left an employer because they’d linked their work email address to their LinkedIn account, that employer went in on whipped out years worth of personal contacts for that particular employee, by closing down their LinkedIn account. 

You have a moral obligation to your staff to set the boundaries, to communicate what you want them to do with your social media accounts and what they own and what they don’t own. LinkedIn profiles, Facebook profiles are generally personal belonging to an individual. If you don’t want them to use their personal profiles for your company, then have some rules about setting up company profiles. But again, make sure that your passwords are protected. I hear far too many stories where employees have left and take them passwords with them and will not release them to the company. The company lose all of the leverage that they’ve gained with their social media following. 

It isn’t something to be scared of. A lot of companies don’t want their staff using social media. Actually, that’s something that if used right, can propel your business to the next level. Just work out how you’re going to do it and what the rules are going to be.

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