Do you need a Social Media Policy?

Social media has changed the rules of marketing. Businesses must be aware, not only have consumers been given a voice but so too have employees. Does your company fear or embrace employees using social media networks?  Employees actions online can have a significant effect on what a business is trying to do – for good and bad. Does this mean you should just block their access to remove any risk?

I love Dilbert cartoons for capturing the ridiculous in office situations. This one on social media made me smile:

It does highlight an important point though. Businesses do need a sensible social media policy for handling their activity, and not just for those identified as contributing to social media campaigns, it needs to be for all employees. It is important that social media is understood and embraced by the whole organisation. However, the opportunity for error does lead to requirement for some control.

Your social media policy needs to fit with the company culture and goals. It needs to establish the extent to which you are encouraging your employees to be brand representatives, your expectations of their activity and educate them on things to avoid comment or discussion on.  It is also important not to create something so restrictive that people look to react against it. There needs to be a balance between the rights of the employee and the marketing strategy of the business.

Education is important. Your employees aren’t stupid, if they are given the information they can understand what information is sensitive and the value to the business. If you trust them enough to openly discuss strategy and its goals then they can feel in part responsible for its success. You may find some of them are influencers who can be valuable allies in spreading the word.

If you are looking for examples of social media policies this link has 57! 

Social media policies are important to ensure all employees are clear on their responsibilities in discussing the business online. By being open regarding strategy and reasons for guidelines you will empower your employees to strengthen the campaign and not find them reacting against it. You may find some of them are influencers who can be valuable allies in spreading the word.

Does your business have a clear social media policy? Please share your experience below.

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