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Social Media Policies for Employees

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I was involved in a discussion with a group of employees during the week regarding guess what “social media”. But it was the more sober line of best practice and especially when working within the confines of the company walls or cyber walls if you are lucky enough to work from home. I said I would write a little piece to put it in some kind of context.

Social Media Policy is a must for every organisation. There can be different types of policies – certain policies describe the representation of the company by social media marketers, while others are about how employees of company should conduct their social media lives. For many companies, the latter is more important – that is, giving their employees some guidelines as to how they can best represent their companies in their social media sites. This topic is quite controversial – after all, where is the line between professional and personal life drawn?

As a boss or a business owner, you need to be careful when walking this line. However, at the bare minimum,  the personal responsibility of the employee should cover the following.:

  • Employees are accountable for content published on social media platforms, (such as Twitter, Wikis, Blogs, YouTube, plus other user generated media forms) when they clearly identify themselves with your company – such as listing you as their employee your  Facebook Page
  • The updates, photos, videos, links etc. they publish when it pertains directly to your company or proprietary information.

Management should be most concerned about employees blabbing about comprising company gossip, confidential pictures and client information. Personal pictures and comments, however inappropriate, enters a gray area – if your employees are posting pictures of themselves getting drunk at parties or giving their opinion on an controversial issue – these should be dealt with on a case-to-case basis. Of course, without having to say it, hateful, discriminatory comments and criminal activity should definitely raise red flags and be dealt with immediately.

The idea of having social media policies, is that  employees symbolize your company at all times by affiliation, whether they are on clock or not. With the growing social media benefits for using as a means for marketing and believing that social media has been a consistent factor in several employee’s private lives, it’s essential that companies need to have policies for managing and monitoring what is being published and how this reflects the company’s image.  With a policy in position, if workers violate it, your business would be legally in a position to respond. Many companies invest lots of time, money and energy to build and promote their brands,  and these policies play a significant part in protecting it.

Social media can prove to be a positive force for the business. One could make use of diverse social media sites for marketing, using free avenues for letting the public recognise your company and your services or products. One could build unique offers for their products via sites such as, Groupon or Yelp or else his or hers website and Facebook page. A company could monitor tweets concerning his business sent by annoyed customers and rapidly respond, making an annoyed customer  a pleased one.

However, you wouldn’t want your workers to tweet about their unhappy relations with the supervisor or client. Also, you wouldn’t want employees to spend hours looking at YouTube and then share it with everyone else using email. To protect your business, you must have certain policies in position for employees,  that must be followed. You should ensure that employees aren’t saying something slanderous regarding the company on social media sites. You must make sure that nobody violates the copyright and trademark and more importantly, ensure that they don’t post confidential information.

Lorcan Kinsella
Lorcan Kinsella is one of the most sought after Digital Marketing Strategists both in Ireland and internationally, having worked with some of the biggest names in information marketing in the world, including Jeff Walker, Dan Kennedy and Tony Robbins while working with the LaunchMen. He is well known for his innovative and passionate approach to digital marketing with extensive experience in developing, defining the overall marketing strategy. Having set up a number of businesses himself and worked in sales and marketing roles over the past 15 years he understands the challenges of developing an effective social media marketing strategy and ultimately a strong brand in the changing market place of today. In addition he is Moderator of Social Media International which is a sub group of Social Media Marketing which is the 4th largest group on LinkedIn boasting 750k members and founder of Social Media Marketing Ireland. In 2013 he founded Link into Business which is a membership training site for entrepreneurs, business owners, which provides all the up to date strategies in digital marketing and social media.

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