Putting a social media policy in place will protect the business and its employees while engaging with the public, but there are some things you should include in a social media policy.
At present, more than 3.6 billion people worldwide are using social media, with the average user spending in the region of two and a half hours perusing, posting, and commenting on various platforms. While social media can be of great benefit to a business, the social media behavior of employees can impact it in various ways. It is for this reason that it is of vital importance that a business entity has a social media policy in place that will protect the business (and its employees) while allowing for quality, enjoyable engagement.
Ill-defined actions and systems have been the downfall of many seemingly-solid social media policies. It is therefore vital that every business defines very clearly what constitutes social media use. New technology emerges all the time, and chaos can ensue if something is wrongly defined in your social media policy.
While there is no question that platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter qualify as social media, other platforms are somewhat more ambiguous. Do online videos count as social media? What about podcasts? These are all things you need to define when writing your social media policy.
Although you would like to assume all your employees will exercise a healthy dose of common sense while on social media, it is essential that your social media policy clearly addresses what are considered to be prohibited topics. Some things, such as sensitive personal and company information, racist and prejudiced posts and comments, and untruthful statements do not belong on any social media platforms.
Over recent years, podcasting has skyrocketed in popularity, with both individuals and business leveraging its power. Although a podcast does require careful planning, it is an effective means of relaying important information to listeners. Depending on the topics they cover, they can also be somewhat controversial. When addressing prohibited topics, it is essential to include both podcasts and vlogging in your policy.
It is virtually impossible to draw up a social media policy by yourself. As both ethics and general opinions have the potential to vary greatly from one person to the next, it is generally beneficial to gain input from a variety of people. Such a team approach will make it easier to ensure that all crucial risk areas are addressed. Apart from involving the actual social media team in the policy writing process, also consider involving the HR head, IT head, a marketing manager, and someone from the legal department who is social media-savvy. Remember that you do not have to include everyone in every step of the policy creation process, as long as top management agrees on the content of the actual policy.
In our tech-driven world, it has become essential that businesses have solid social media policies in place. Although it may seem like a lot of hard work for nothing, you always need to protect your business interests as best as possible. Remember, you are building a brand identity on social media.