Whether or not your organization is using social media for business, your employees probably are using it. Whether they're engaging in a personal or professional way, your company needs a social media policy.
Social Media forYour SmallBusinessPart 4: Social Media Policy &Your Staff
MisconceptionEmployee Social Media Policies do not justapply to how employees use companyprofiles, pages, handles, etc.An Employee Social Media Policies alsoregulates how employees can talk about yourcompany, competitors, customers, vendors andother employees.
What is a Social Media Policy? : a corporate code of conduct that provides guidelines for employees who post content on the internet either as part of their job or as a private person
What does it need? Your social media policy doesn’t need to look like a legal document Should outline specifically how your business and employees will represent themselves online
Why have a social media policy? Employers need to be upfront with employees about online privacy, expectations and consequences Employees need to be aware of company policies in relation to harassment, ethics and disclosure in all forms of communication
What should the policy cover? How your business uses social media to engage and interact with your audiences How do you collect, use and store customer (or potential customer) information What information is acceptable to share or discuss online Consequences of violating the policy How social media activity MAY be monitored
What to include The purpose of your social media policy
The Policy Purpose Your policy needs to address what the reader should take away after reading the policy Social Media Policies tend to be written in a positive way i.e. focusing on what employees can do instead of what they can’t do
Be Careful… You need to clearly communicate whatOften, people tend to you find acceptableinterpret the “right”: to and unacceptable.express themselves as Employees also needimplying lack of to be informed of theconsequences consequences should they break the “rules”
What to include1. The purpose of your social media policy Responsibility
Responsibility Clearly define who is responsible for the content created by your organization and posted on your sites or on behalf of your company. Who are the gatekeepers in charge of making sure only appropriate material is shared? What is your system of checks and balances?
What to include1. The purpose of your social media policy2. Responsibility Authenticity
Authenticity When appropriate include your name, company info and title. Stay true to the attitude, outlook and voice of your company. Consumers buy from companies/people that they know and trust. Let people know who you are.
What to include1. The purpose of your social media policy2. Responsibility3. Authenticity Consider Your Audience
Consider Your Audience Be aware- anything you post could be seen by Current Clients Potential Clients Current, Past and Future Employees Networking Groups Vendors Before you post make sure you aren’t alienating any of these groups
What to include1. The purpose of your social media policy2. Responsibility3. Authenticity4. Consider Your Audience Good Judgment
Exercise Good Judgment There are a limitless number of opinions and perspectives on the Internet. You SHOULD share yours, but never do so in a way that is offensive. Explain to your staff that you will be monitoring social media activity even if they are using it for personal reasons. Employees should always consider what the company president or owner would think of a post before hitting share/send.
What to include Understanding of an online community
Online Community A community exists so that you can support others and they can support you. Learn how to balance personal and professional information Don’t encourage competition in your community
What to include6. Purpose of Your Online Community Copyrights and Fair Use
Copyrights & Fair Use Your Social Media Policy should clearly outline what can and can’t be shared. This is especially important for employees who are posting on behalf of the company. Employees who don’t understand these issues could get your company into a lot of trouble for intellectual property abuse.
What to include6. Purpose of Your Online Community7. Copyrights and Fair Use Protect Confidential & Proprietary Info
Protect Confidential & Proprietaryinfo Transparency doesn’t allow or require employees to share anything they want. You should protect your trade secrets. Employees should have an understanding of what your company consider confidential or proprietary info before posting online.
What to include6. Purpose of Your Online Community7. Copyrights and Fair Use8. Protect Confidential & Proprietary Info Adding Value
Adding Value You will reap more and better results if you add value to your social media sites. Consider your audiences and what they might need or what might help them (even if they’re not aware of it). Frame conversations around specific issues and topics for your audiences.
What to include6. Purpose of Your Online Community7. Copyrights and Fair Use8. Protect Confidential & Proprietary Info9. Adding Value Productivity
Productivity Social Media professional understand the difference between “goofing off” online and being productive. Automating processes whenever possible can help ensure your social media efforts are productive. If your organization is adding social media to employees existing work, your policy should help them find a balance between the two.
When to implement Whether or not your company is using social media for business, your employees are probably using it personally, professionally or for both. Employees need guidelines for acceptable online behavior Employers need to be protected
Encourage Adherence Incorporate it into Employee Training Make it Accessible Repackage and Remind Revise as Needed Regularly Review Employee Accounts for Compliance
A Social Media Policy is NOT a “set it and forget it” deal.Companies tend to set employee policies and then onlyrevisit them if there’s a problem or concern.Social Media is constantly evolving so your policyshould evolve to accommodate changes
Additional Considerations Can employees access personal social media sites while at work?Cellphone and tablet access can make this verydifficult to regulate.Developing a clear policy about which instanceswarrant access to social media sites during work hourscan help.However, if you intend to ban social media use atwork beware….
Additional Considerations What constitutes access to social media during work?Can employees access social media sites duringbreaks?What about before or after “official” work hours?If employees are attending a work related function?Your Social Media Policy needs to address these andother contingencies.
Additional Considerations Can your employees connect with customers or clients on social media?Is it ok for your employees to connect withcustomers/clients on social media in a personalcapacity?If so, how will you regulate their interactions?What happens if the customer/client doesn’t likesomething your employee posts?
Avoiding Overly Broad Policies Unadvisable Advisable Do not post Do not disclose confidential (examples) trade information secrets, product introduction dates or private health details
Examples Approved Unapproved Wal-Mart: General Motors: inappropriate postings offensive, that may include discriminatory demeaning, abusive remarks, harassment or inappropriate and threats of violence remarks are as out of or similar place online as they inappropriate or are offline unlawful conduct
The FTC requires Federal social media users and bloggers to Regulations disclose & Social freebies, comps, p aid endorsements Media and affiliations Policies
Federal Regulators are limiting what employers can restrict Federal Many blanket restrictions on what Regulations employees can say & Social have been declared illegal Media However, employer s can “act against” a Policies lone worker ranting on the Internet
According to the NLRA… Employers cannot interfere with or restrict the rights of employees to discuss wages and/or working conditions
Company Network Give employees a safe place to discuss concerns Provides an alternative to posting information that is potentially harmful on sites anyone can access
Company Network This is still a developing area. It is not clear if the courts will find this a suitable alternative to public social media sites. If this is acceptable, can companies restrict conversations on public sites?
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