Why does your company need a sound social media policy?
Who’s not on some kind of social network these days? Everyone in the workforce has easy access to Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. It is impossible for a company to keep track of each and every employee’s tweets and status updates, and God forbid they’ve posted the video of your last holiday party where you were dancing with full abandon to some 70s tune. It is getting more and more important for companies to have some kind of a social media policy in place which safe guards it in case of employee misconduct and misrepresentation.
Employees are the faces of your company. They are walking, talking testimonials and powerful brand ambassadors of your company. With one wrong tweet, they can potentially damage the reputation of your company. A fine example is the Aflac tweet debacle which got Gilbert Gottfried fired from his cushy job.
If your employees tweet something inappropriate or insensitive about your company, there should be some way of holding them accountable and liable. Let them be aware of how you expect them to behave in the social sphere regarding company matters.
Manpower recently conducted a survey of 34,000 employees worldwide and asked them four questions. There were some interesting but quite predictable findings from the survey. The survey was worldwide, but specifically focusing on the Americas, here are some major findings:
Q 1. Does your organization have a formal policy regarding employee use of external social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?
The good news is that employers in the Americas are more likely than their global counterparts to have a formal policy in place regarding the use of social networking in the workplace, but the majority of organizations are adopting a ‘wait-and-see’ approach before developing their own formal policies on the use of social networking.
Q 2. In which of these areas has your policy been effective?
“…65% of respondents indicated that minimizing productivity loss was the chief benefit of implementing a social networking policy; 39% reported their policies helped protect intellectual property and proprietary information; 32% indicated the policies helped protect their organization’s reputations; and 18% said that workplace social networking policies helped them in their recruiting efforts.”
Q 3. In what two areas do you believe external social networks can provide the biggest boost to your organization in the future?
“…nearly three in 10 (29%) employers indicated external social networking as a reinforcement to their brand-building efforts. Employers from Peru (42%), Colombia and Costa Rica (both at 41%) were the most likely to assign this benefit to social networking. Using social networking as an aid to recruitment efforts was identified by 21% of the region’s employers, while 20% viewed social media as a boon to collaboration and communication.
Q 4. Has your organization’s reputation ever been negatively affected as a result of employees’ use of social networking sites?
“…Of the 10,652 employers who responded to this question, 8% identified on-the-job social networking as harmful to their organization’s overall reputation, compared to only 4% globally.”
It is becoming essential for companies to draft a social media policy that strikes a balance between moderation and freedom of expression. Here are some examples of policies that can get you started, Most importantly, use common sense while tweeting, commenting or publishing videos and pictures. Be sensitive and rational. And don’t talk about proprietary information.
By Market Dialogues
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