So, first off, don’t go all crazy and start limiting employee free speech. That is not what this blog is about. What it is about is setting expectations for your company and its employees so there are no blurred lines when it comes to what would be considered crossing the line.
This is not just on personal accounts, but also on brand accounts. If you are trusting someone with your brand, you better be sure they understand what is “OK” and what isn’t. Jeanne Meister, Forbes contributor, shares a story from across the pond about HMV, an entertainment retailer, which laid off a bunch of people, and the social media manager made sure people knew about it. As she points out, this action would be considered illegal by the National Labor Relations Board. Did you know that? Surprisingly, many people do not.
Not only can this be detrimental to your brand, but it can also affect your employees long term – say, when they are looking to move up or move on.
I think adidas Group‘s policy says it best: “You are personally responsible for the content you publish on blogs, wikis or any other form of user-generated media. Please remember that the internet never forgets. This means everything you publish will be visible to the world for a very, very long time. Common sense is a huge factor here.”
Not only does adidas cover all the obvious stuff, but the brand also touches on things like how your personal social media can influence a pitch meeting. Lastly, adidas wraps it up with “Don’t forget your daily job.” I like this a lot. It doesn’t forbid using social media, but it also makes sure to remind people they are here to do a job, because, let’s be honest, social media is the new smoke break for employees. Not only can it be addictive, but it can also interfere with your work and concentration. From being on Facebook too much, to being emotionally affected by a comment or post, there needs to be a balance.
Lastly, limit the amount of people who have access to your brand social accounts, and invest in a social media tool like SocialFlow, Hootsuite or Spredfast. Only allow brand accounts to be added to these tools, and you remove the possibility of a Chrysler or StubHub snafu. Of course, this doesn’t mean employees can’t still make mistakes. (*cough, cough* US Airways *cough, cough*)
Need some social media policy examples? Check out this database.
Need a social media policy template? The ACFE has you covered.
Need someone to help you manage your brand’s social media? Raidious can help.