By Amy Kinnaird
For years the news has shared stories of employees being fired for saying or doing something on social media that was against their company's policies. Last week, that story became a local one. Without going into the details, our town was a-buzz discussing the event, what role social media has for a business and the right or wrong way the company handled the employee. There was a lot of local and national media coverage, and yes, it even made CNN!
To me, it just brings up how critically important it is for your business to have a clearly documented social media policy.
Companies typically have some kind of communication handbook that new employees have to review and sign. A social media policy is just an extension of this. While attorneys are still struggling with what to do with social media, most agree that if an employee signs or initials something with guidelines spelled out, that signifies the employee understands and plans to abide by the policy, otherwise suffers the penalties.
Creating a social media handbook/policy/guideline isn't hard. It just takes some time to thoughtfully go through each scenario. You can get started by asking yourself some questions and filling in the blanks as you build a document.
Here are just a few important things to include:
- Which social networks are you going to participate in and which are you not?
- Who is responsible for participating? Is there a social media team?
- Who creates the content?
- Provide examples of each type of post, who is to respond to them, and how they are to respond.
- Negative comments
- General conversations
- What topics are off-limits?
- How much personal information are they allowed to share?
- Guidelines for posting photos, videos, and other links.
- What are the ramifications to inappropriate comments or responses by employees?
Finally, how are you going to ensure that your employees know and understand your social media guidelines? Without a clear understanding of them and a knowledge of what will happen if they don't follow the guidelines, you are likely to end up on the front page of the newspaper or on CNN! And really, is that the kind of press you want?
Amy Kinnaird has over three decades of experience in Marketing with half of that time spent working from her home office. While working at IBM for 15 years, Amy discovered a techie inside herself, a trait she continues to use and cultivate in her own business – UnCommon Sense Marketing. Amy is a Social Media Evangelist, a Marketing Consultant, and a popular speaker based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. Clients find that Amy makes the technical world simple to understand and can find her where Southern Hospitality meets the World of IT, and at just about every local networking event in between! For more information on Amy, visit http://uncommonsensemarketing.com.