Social media usage has been rapidly increasing every year. It has become a substantial medium for a lot of people to express and vent their feelings, and this trend does not look to be changing any time soon. Within any organization, 9 out of 10 people are likely to have a personal social media account. This creates the necessity for a social media policy as an indispensable tool for an organization, just like any other company policy it holds.

Social media takes a significant share when it comes to making or breaking a business. A social media policy for your organization gives clear guidance on what employees are permitted to say regarding their colleagues, the organization, and its clients. There are a lot of software organizations, for example, that prohibit employees from disclosing project and client names on social media to protect themselves from falling prey to competitors and litigations.

Let us take a look at the need, and best practices, for developing a social media policy for your organization.

1. Letting Your Employees Know What Is Acceptable And What Is Not

With devices that help you access social media on the go like smartphones, tablets, etc. seen commonly in today’s world, blocking social media use in the workplace is difficult. According to a survey conducted in June 2016 by Pew Research Center, 77% of employees access their personal social media accounts at work. So, restricting them from doing so is practically impossible and would threaten their freedom of action, causing a negative impact on productivity.

Rather, draw a clear line on what is permissible to post on social media and what is not. Employees should be aware that comments that could defame the organization, breaches of contract, disclosing sensitive information, etc. is not at all acceptable, and breaching this could lead to dire consequences like termination of employment, or worse, depending on the seriousness.

A clear set of guidelines can be provided to employees enunciating what is permissible to post regarding the organization, thereby ensuring that the organization is free from legal problems. Legal issues are sure to arise if employees say anything detrimental to the organization or reveal confidential information.

2. Preclude The Company’s Reputation From Damage:

While devising a social media policy, you should cover all the possibilities of the do’s and don’ts in social media with respect to the organization. Employees’ usage of social platforms, irrespective of whether they are in the workplace or not, can pose risks to an organization without guidelines. Even a small post could expose the company to legal liabilities that damage the company’s reputation, or the leakage of confidential data.

Your policy should not restrict employees from using social media at all, as this would lead to legal proceedings on freedom of speech. So, care should be taken that employees can use social media, but at the same time, they should be clear on the guidelines laid out by the company on how they play an important role in protecting its reputation.

3. Assists In Branding:

Clear guidelines can highlight how the right social media mentions about the organization can help achieve business goals and show that the organization always welcomes this. Frame policies so employees understand how to comment on social media for brand awareness and to drive traffic to the organization’s website. If done right, employees can act as key representatives in promoting your brand across platforms too.

4. Protecting Data And Sensitive Information:

Usage of social media using the workplace network by the employees makes it prone to viruses and malware attack. This is a serious issue and poses a great threat to the security of confidential data across your organization. User login credentials, customer information and other sensitive information that these malwares decode could easily take a toll on the organization’s reputation making it lose customer trust. By clearly educating employees to restrict the usage of social media and not fall a prey to click-bait links, you can prevent such mishaps that could potentially happen to your company.

 

Employees should be mindful with all posts they make if they are adding value to the company , or just posting content for the sake of it – and what the risks involved with their chosen content are. Developing and implementing a social media policy ensures that your organization doesn’t have to face the music for comments your employees post on social media about you, your clients, or even the competition.

With these policies, your employees will get a clear understanding of what they are allowed to post online, and how any carelessness from them may lead to big trouble.