How to Create a Corporate Social Media Policy
Create a Corporate Social Media Policy
Social media is an invaluable asset to any brand — when used properly and responsibly. It takes just a few seconds to craft 140 characters into one careless tweet that can ignite a social firestorm and launch you directly into damage control.
Real-Life Social Media Blunders
Take a look at a these real-life social media blunders, and you’ll see just how important it is to be careful with your brand’s social media.
- Walmart Drops the F-Bomb on Facebook — WHAT THE ______ WAS FACEBOOK THINKING!!!!!!” read one Facebook post by Walmart last year. Luckily for that page manager, the mistake was recognized as an honest slip up — he/she thinking the post was going on his/her own Facebook page rather than the corporate page — and was excused. Other similar situations haven’t turned out so well for social media page managers who make that mistake.
- HMV “Mass Execution” — This struggling retailer of music, film, games and tech products in the UK was forced to layoff thousands of employees last year. One of those employees had access to the company’s Twitter account and decided to live tweet a meeting where 60 staff members were getting the pink slip from HR.
- The employee called the mass layoffs a “mass execution,” using the hashtag #hmvXFactorFiring and later called out the fact that the marketing director knew little about social media and that the Twitter account was set up by an unpaid intern.
- PR Exec Disses Largest Client’s Hometown — Upon landing in Memphis for a business trip, a high-profile PR executive tweeted “I would die if I had to live here.” Evidently he failed to remember that Memphis is home to FedEx — one of his biggest clients. Oops.
Preventing a PR Crisis
These examples might be the makings of a PR nightmare, but they certainly aren’t evidence as to why you should avoid social media. Allowing your employees to take to social media as brand ambassadors can have big payouts for your company, but how can you prevent public shaming or the attachment of your brand to an obscene or vulgar post.
If your company handbook and policies do not include a policy about social media, this is mistake number one. If you do have a social media policy in place, it’s important to keep that policy within the realm of what’s considered legal and doesn’t encroach on employees’ rights. (Read more on that here.)
How to Create a Corporate Social Media Policy
Set boundaries regarding posting of confidential information.
This can protect both your brand and your clients/customers. Your employees should have signed a confidentiality agreement, which is the basis for this portion of your social media policy. To protect clients/customers, set guidelines regarding the information that page managers can post publicly.
Remind employees that they act as representatives of your company.
Encourage employees to refer to your company’s code of conduct and ethics regarding employee behavior if there is any question whether or not a social media post is appropriate. The same rules should apply to employee conduct on social media.
Prohibit participation in arguments and debates.
All posts made on behalf of your brand should be positive and promote your company in a positive light. Responding to derogatory comments or participating in arguments or debates can cast a negative light on your brand.
Educate employees on copyright laws.
There are rules as to how content and images found on the Internet can be shared. Protect your company from copyright infringement by subscribing to a paid stock image source, such as iStock or Shutterstock.
Provide training to employees.
A live training workshop may be most useful to your employees. Use this as an opportunity to teach the basics of social media and explain your corporate social media policy to employees. Some companies hold regular trainings on social media to keep employees up to date and continually remind employees of the corporate policy.
Creating a social media policy can be tricky, but in the digital age, it is necessary. Take advantage of employees’ own use of social media to promote your brand but carefully craft your social media policy to limit liability and help prevent a social media slip up from turning into a major PR crisis for your brand.
Frozen Fire is a Dallas internet marketing and video production company that helps companies harness the most powerful aspect of modern marketing—the internet—to engage customers in memorable and meaningful ways. Ways that ignite sales and business growth. Contact us to learn how we can help your business.