How Does Your Company Treat Social Media Use Amongst Colleagues?
Social media has transformed our communication, and has had a global impact that shows no signs of slowing down. In recognition of that, Social Media Day was set up 8 years ago by Mashable to recognise and celebrate how this extraordinary tool is used. This June 30th marks the ninth annual Social Media Day, so in preparation, we have collected some advice to make sure your business is using a social media policy effectively.
Why does my business need a social media policy?
Some studies estimate the British businesses lose billions every year due to misuse of social media, thanks to time wasting on Twitter and Facebook as well as those horror stories that you hear about defamation, sensitive information leaks and PR disasters.
Social media is a powerful tool that can have big benefits as well as big risks. The better informed your business is, the easier it is to mitigate those risks and ensure that social media is used for good.
Should we be banning social media access for all employees?
Well, maybe. A lot of businesses do. It is certainly a good way to make sure people are focusing on work rather than keeping an eye on the latest drama on Facebook, even if it can cause some grumbling for those who want to check Twitter during their lunch break.
Yet it should also be considered that sometimes social media has a real benefit for people’s professional lives. Particularly in specialised industries, your colleagues may have an extended network of similar professionals they know from university or previous jobs. All of those people could be useful business connections, potential clients, or important influencers. Encouraging and supporting your employees to interact with their industry and your company’s online presence can offer unexpected opportunities.
How do I make sure nothing goes wrong?
It is important to emphasise to colleagues the risk of social media. If an employee works with highly confidential or sensitive information, it is recommended that they do not discuss work on social media at all – even small details that seem harmless can build a bigger picture.
Some businesses counter this risk by asking employees not to identify themselves on social media, in case they are regarded as representatives of the company. This can be a general policy or applied to individuals seen as ‘at risk’ of causing problems on social media, for example if they hold controversial beliefs.