Research shows that a majority of employees are willing to share company information - they’re just not sure what to share because they don’t want to get in trouble. A constructive company-wide social media policy will answer questions and encourage employees to add support on social media whenever possible.
If you're a one-person shop or solo-preneur, you probably do all your own social media posting, or you may outsource to a social media manager. Many businesses encourage employees to share photos and information about their products, special events, and promotions - until something goes wrong, and an employee shares private, confidential or damaging information on social media channels.
For small business and nonprofits a clear, written and current social media policy is important to avoid and manage social media blunders and prevent sharing of private, company-only information.
Social media is a constantly evolving platform, and laws and HR policies can be slow to keep up.
How to implement a social media policy
1. Write your social media policies down
Verbal policies are subject to misinterpretation: be very clear about your business's social media policies and write down your social media policies as part of your HR employee manual. Research your local and national laws to make sure your social media policies are in compliance.
- Who is authorized to post social media on behalf of your business?
- are employees allowed to post photos or share information about events happening at your business?
- what are the consequences for failing to follow your businesses social media policies?
2. Conduct employee trainings to distribute and explain social media policies
Each employee (and volunteer, if applicable) should be officially informed of your business's social media policies when they are hired as part of the onboarding process. If you are implementing a social media policy for the first time, call a staff meeting to introduce and explain your social media policiesto everyone so that there is no misunderstanding.
3. Define what your business does what employees to share on social media
Many businesses benefit from their employees and volunteers sharing information about their business - and many employees love where they work, and want to share their enthusiasm on their own social media channels. Sharing on social is good: as long as everyone is clear on what is, and what is not, appropriate for sharing about your business on social media.
A clear, written and current social media policy is important for your business to avoid and manage social media blunders and prevent sharing of private, company-only information.