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Developing a Social Media Policy For Your Business


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Lawyer and Social Media Expert Stacey Burke discusses best practices for developing an internal social media policy for your business.

Published in: Social Media
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Developing a Social Media Policy For Your Business

  1. 1. + Developing a Social Media Policy For Your Business Stacey E. Burke
  2. 2. + Introduction
  3. 3. + Social Media: By The Numbers Number of active social media users: 3.4 Billion Number of Internet users: 4.2 Billion Total worldwide population: 7.7 Billion Average time spent on social media: 116 minutes per day Average number of social media accounts per person: 5.54 Social media users grew by 320 million between September 2017 and October 2018 That equates to one new social media user every 10 seconds
  4. 4. + Number of Users by Social Media Channel 2.271 billion users 1.5 billion users 1 billion users 900 million users 562 million users 326 million users 186 million users
  5. 5. + Customers & employees use social media, so you can’t avoid it. Your customers expect you to be active online and available to answer any questions they have and your employees are already visiting social channels on a daily basis. 47% of employees now use social networks to connect with customers.
  6. 6. + The Risks of Social Media
  7. 7. + Protecting Your Brand  Unfortunately, in a world where everyone is connected, one poorly timed, or poorly worded message could destroy your brand reputation.  Failing to provide proper guidance to your staff concerning their social media presence puts your entire company at risk.
  8. 8. + The Wild West While Pew Research Center suggests that 74% of adults are on social media, it also indicates that 73% of companies lack a social media policy.
  9. 9. + Keep in Mind:  Disclosing confidential or proprietary information  Failure to credit sources of text and imagery  Industry-specific rules to follow (law as an example)  Phishing scams and ransomware attacks (passwords / multi- factor authentication)  Crisis response Legal Risks / Security Risks When crafting your company’s social media policy, keep in mind any potential risks.
  10. 10. + What Is A Company Social Media Policy?
  11. 11. + Basic Ethics Commonsense If you can’t do it offline, you can’t do it online.
  12. 12. + However…..  While we wish this worked/was enough, different people have different barometers and you want one solid barometer for what is ok in your company.  You do that by having a formalized policy employees are required to sign as part of their employment agreement.
  13. 13. + Definition: A social media policy is your business code of conduct, letting people in your organization know how to act on social media. It is a compilation of rules, regulations, and roles that will streamline how your business and its employees use these platforms.
  14. 14. + A well-crafted social media policy:  Enumerates what your company defines as social media.  Is not just a list of DON’T’S – also includes DO’S.  Defends against security risks and legal issues, including privacy issues.  Protects your brand by ensuring that whenever someone interacts with your company online, either via a company channel or an employee’s individual channel, they get the same consistent experience. This develops a reliable, trustworthy digital identity for your company that matches who you are offline IRL.
  15. 15. + It also….  Empowers your staff via employee advocacy without putting your brand credibility at risk. A plan is a critical advocacy tool, giving your people the guidance they need to accurately represent your organization online.  Leads generated through an employee convert up to 7 times more, meaning it’s profitable to have your company on social media.  LinkedIn research shows that employees get twice the click-through rate for branded content that a company page would get for the same post.
  16. 16. + A well-crafted social media policy answers these questions:  Who can speak on behalf of the business on social media?  What can those speakers say and what can they not say?  What voice do I use? (etiquette)  What are the consequences if I do something wrong?  How do I respond to negativity?  When can I tag/mention company accounts and other companies’ accounts?
  17. 17. + Examples of Large Corporate Social Media Policy Language That Work
  18. 18. + What You Should Do:  Disclose Your Affiliation: If you talk about work related matters that are within your area of job responsibility you must disclose your affiliation with the company.  State That It’s YOUR Opinion: When commenting on the business. Unless authorized to speak on behalf of the company, you must state that the views expressed are your own. Hourly employees should not speak on behalf of the company when they are off the clock.  Understand: that no material posted on social media is entirely private, and should be considered public and permanent.  Understand: and accept any legal or professional liability that accrues from posting on any social media platforms.
  19. 19. + What You Should Never Disclose:  The Numbers: Non-public financial or operational information. This includes strategies, forecasts, and most anything with a dollar-figure attached to it. If it’s not already public information, it’s not your job to make it so.  Personal Information: Never share personal information about our customers, clients, or other employees.  Anything that belongs to someone else: Stick to posting your own creations. Don’t post illegally shared music, copyrighted publications, and logos or other images that are trademarked.
  20. 20. + But What About Employees’ Personal Accounts?  Regardless of whether your staff members are actively speaking for you, the world will always see them as a reflection of your brand.  If your employees are acting questionably online, this raises suspicion about your business too.  Get fired (and it’s embarrassing to lose your job for something that’s so easily avoided)  Get the company in legal trouble with customers or investors  Cost the company the ability to get and keep customers and/or employees  Cause a public relations incident Reflection on Company Consequences for Employees
  21. 21. + REMEMBER!! Protect the brand, protect yourself.
  22. 22. + Why Checking Everything is Important
  23. 23. + Follow These Rules for Successful Social Media Management  Keep imagery in line with company brand standards.  Remember to check the source of any imagery you use, and attribute as needed.  Be careful using trending hashtags to increase engagement because you may not understand what they really mean.  Sharing or retweeting is great for engagement, but verify the original source before doing so.
  24. 24. + Check Your Photos American Apparel shared a photo for July 4th meaning to show smoke in the sky after fireworks. Instead, someone uploaded a photo of the smoke after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded.
  25. 25. + Check the Hashtag First: #WhyIStayed was trending on Twitter for conversations about domestic violence and why people stayed in abusive relationships. DiGiorno Pizza did not do their research first and spent hours apologizing.
  26. 26. + Check Sources Before Sharing on Your Channels Often your competitors will have content that is relevant to your business. Make sure you check the source of content before sharing it, though… no need to advertise for a direct competitor!
  27. 27. + Final Thoughts and Tips  Utilize social listening to get ahead of potential issues  Have a crisis response plan and be ready to respond within one hour  Employee opinions carry weight, which can work both ways  Always proofread your content before sharing it on social media for business. It’s also good to have a second pair of eyes check over your posts for accidental errors.  Automation can help as much as it can hurt  If possible, run your words past others outside your business before sharing on social so you can make sure it comes off as intended.
  28. 28. + Connect with Stacey:  Facebook: @MarketingLawyers  Twitter: @staceyeburke  Instagram: @MarketingLawyers  LinkedIn: /company/stacey-e-burke-p-c  Website:  My e-newsletter: