It goes without saying that social media changes rapidly, something that was new on Tuesday could be considered ancient on Wednesday. It is a fast-moving machine. These days, almost any company that wants to reach its target audience engages in social media – Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
However, many companies appear to lack a social media policy document that is a guide to how social media engagement should occur.
After social media session with Dena Lorenzi, we at Sparks would like to share with everyone what we learned about the necessity of having a social media policy.
Every company has an HR manual that details the rules and expectations of its employees, and the consequences of inappropriate behavior on the job. Yet, many companies do not think it is important to have a social media policy, which is a living document that can be updated regularly. It will also detail who in the company communicates via social media.
These are the stakeholders involved: marketing/communications, HR, Legal (and sometimes IT).
What should your social media policy have in it? Here are 4 characteristics of a social media policy –
Reputation – No one wants to have a bad reputation. It’s safe to say that we’d prefer to have no reputation instead. But companies need to have reputations so that customers will be able to know who they are, and having a good reputation will always go a long way. A social media policy will detail how you and your employees can maintain your company’s good reputation.
Privacy/Security – A good social media policy will also guide companies on how to maintain employees’ and customers’ confidential information, such as financials, addresses, and any other sensitive information that should not be posted, tweeted or made public in any manner.
Defining Social Media – A good social media policy will also answer and define what is social media. Social media ranges from blogging, to YouTube videos, to LinkedIn and Facebook posts, to Twitter communications, etc. And with so many new forms of communication coming out almost daily, companies can refer to their manual to determine if any of these fall under social media.
Ethics – A good social media policy will also define the ethics of behavior and kinds of communications that will contribute to whether or not your company has a good or negative reputation. Companies operate according to ethics and social media is no different – practice bad ethics and you will eventually fail; practice good ethics and positive results will follow.