Social media isn’t just a trend anymore; it’s a way of life. People from all walks of life are using it to communicate and network with one another, promote their company and brand, and take advantage of all the tools readily available to them – and all for free.
As a boss, it’s important to manage how your employees use social media because it can have a direct impact on how the public perceives your company and brand. With that said, here are eight steps you should take to make sure your social media guidelines benefit you and your staff.
Every social media policy you draft should have an ultimate goal in mind that takes the user and the reader into account. Instead of focusing on what your employees can’t do, let them know the things they can do. Not only does this help you get your message across, but your employees won’t feel like they’re being restricted. As a result, they’ll be more willing to adhere to the guidelines stipulated in your social media policy.
Additionally, when drafting a policy, think about what your readers will ultimately get out of it. Although your guidelines aren’t for them, they’ll be directly affected by them when they communicate with your employees. When drafting a social media policy, keep the bigger picture in mind instead of what needs done in the moment.
Take Responsibility for What You Publish Online
Just because you aren’t face to face with your potential customers or clients, that doesn’t mean you have the right to say whatever you want, when you want. And just because you’re communicating online, that doesn’t disqualify you from the consequences or repercussions for what you post. Every employee who represents your company and brand online must exercise common sense and take responsibility for all the content they post on your behalf.
When drafting your social media policy, make it clear that anyone who doesn’t take this seriously will have face strict penalties or even loss of their job. Afterall, it’s your company and brand on the line — not theirs.
Establish a Name for Yourself
Potential customers and clients want to know whom they’re talking to, so it’s best to include your name, the company you work for, and your title in all the online posts you make. Not only will this help to establish trust in the company-client relationship, but it’ll also work as a marketing vice if the posts you make adhere to the guidelines. Once you’ve made a name for yourself online, people will know who you are and as a result, will trust you.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
When you’re using social media to communicate with and promote to potential customers and clients, you have to remember that they aren’t the only ones reading your content. Whether it’s a current customer, a past client, or even a potential future employee, your message is read by various people who are studying your every word. Before publishing any material online, take this into account so that you don’t alienate any of those groups.
Use Sound Judgment
Simply put: Your employees should be using sound judgment and common sense when they’re publishing online posts. If you feel like they don’t have the ability to do so, then they shouldn’t be representing your company or brand online — or anywhere else, really. There are a lot of people online, and all of them perceive the world in a different way from one another. Refrain from making comments that might seem rude, derogatory, or racist.
Also, your employees should understand that you — as a boss — have the right to monitor what they publish online when it relates to your company and brand. Even if the posts are being published from home, they still impact how the public perceives your company and brand. Make sure your employees are aware of this, so they know what to expect if they cross the line. Mistakes happen, but they can cost your company and brand a lot in the end.
Adhere to Copyright Guidelines
Speaking of sound judgment and common sense, your employees should never publish anything that isn’t theirs unless they have consent from the original source and attribute the content properly. When they’re using social media, it’s important to make the most of it and share insightful information with your potential customers and current clients to keep them interested in your online presence. But again, respect copyright guidelines while doing so. You should also outline that failure to do so will result in termination, since this is a serious break of the rules.
Protect Confidential Information
Although being transparent is an important part of building trust with your potential customers and current clients, it doesn’t mean divulging private information that can harm others. Make sure that your employees know that they will be serious consequences if they don’t follow this part in your social media policy, since it’s another big break of the rules that can impact a lot of people. It doesn’t just damage your company or brand’s image, but you can actually get sued for pulling a stunt like this. Again, stress the importance of this to your employees in the policy.
Bring Something Valuable to the Table
Social media is a great opportunity for your company to take advantage of a free platform to reach as many people — again, potential customers and clients — as it can. Promotional pencils are a great way to spread your brand. You can imprint your Twitter handle (or any other social media account) onto custom pencils and other promotional materials to increase awareness and engagement.
The same works online; the more valuable content you bring to the table, the more followers and friends you’ll accrue. This will likely result in more business, and that’s a good thing for you and your company.
Drafting a social media policy for your employees doesn’t have to be torturous. Follow these simple steps, enforce them, and you’re sure to have an array of social media accounts that work for you and not against you.