Social media is part of our day-to-day lives. Even individuals who don’t have active social media profiles are still impacted by these various digital networks, in one way or another. And, the matter is all-the-more complicated when business practices are brought into the mix. The fact of the matter is, social media marketing is a must in this day and age. But, social media can easily steal time, money, and even reputation from your company.

Tips for Creating an Effective Employee Social Media Policy

Let’s face it, we all have unprofessional habits; and, some social media habits can be the worst among them. But, you need this medium to reach new customers and build a relationship with others. It’s also an invaluable tool for customer relations, as well as customer trust. Social media can effectively define a brand. The problem is, that image can easily be a negative one. Just one false move or faux pas is all it takes to unleash unwanted fallout.

Facebook’s users spend an aggregate of 10.5 billion minutes per day on the platform (excluding mobile). And engagement — based on the number of monthly users who visit the site daily — is even higher today. Assuming that users spend about the same amount of time today, that means people all over the world have spent a collective 55 million years on Facebook since the beginning of 2009. Twenty minutes a day is a lot of time — well more than a year over the course of the average life span. If users spent just that time working for minimum wage instead of liking and poking each other, each would pull in about $880 a year. That’s almost $900 billion in aggregate hypothetical labor year. —NBC News

So, like other things in life, this requires balance. You want productivity to remain high and efficient. But, you also do not want to limit freedom in the workplace. This creates a conundrum, although it doesn’t have to be paralyzing. To get the most out of social media for marketing and to keep employees content with the workplace, you need a policy. The good news is it doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, being specific reduces confusion about what is and what isn’t acceptable. Here are some helpful tips for creating an effective employee social media policy for your business:

  • Don’t step on their protected legal rights. Did you know there are federal laws which protect your employees relating to social media? The National Labor Relation Act states that companies are prohibited from interfering with employees posting or holding conversations through social media in regard to wages and working conditions.
  • Clearly state which behaviors are not acceptable. Although there are some limits to what you as a business can and can’t do, it’s good to know certain behaviors do not have legal protections. So, you can prohibit use of defamatory, abusive, offensive, demeaning content, and the like. (This also includes personal complaints.)
  • Require all employees include a profile disclaimer. You’ve probably seen the phrase, “Tweets are my own.” This disclaimer is necessary, particularly for team members who do not have express permission to speak for you company. A disclaimer also helps to reduce confusion between official company word and personal opinion.
  • Learn your state’s laws before creating a social media policy. There are not only federal laws about social media, but your state likely has laws as well. Take the time to learn what your state’s laws are in relation to social media for your own protection.
  • Be prepared to periodically (re)educate and enforce the rules. No social media policy is effective if it isn’t clearly understood and readily accessible. You need to periodically go over your policy and be ready to enforce it, when necessary.

How do you use social media in your business? Do you allow employees to use social media for promoting your company? What do you think are the most effective ways to leverage social media through your employees? Please share your thoughts and experiences by commenting!

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