Social Media Policy: Is it required?

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Social Media Policy: Is it required?

Social media has become a key tool for brand development and networking in the modern business landscape. Social media as a form of marketing is now so commonplace that companies who are not active on these platforms are missing out on valuable marketing channel as they do not have a social media policy.

We recently worked with a client who understood this and had previously, started an initiative to build brand exposure for their company online. They wanted all staff members to develop an online presence and encouraged them to get active on social media, and they did.

Unfortunately, one team member did something online that their manager thoroughly disapproved of. 

In this instance, the company had no social media policy to outline acceptable behaviour clearly and set expectations. If they’d had a social media policy, it would have been much easier to manage the employee’s online behaviour, and the entire situation would have likely been avoided altogether.

According to Pew Research Center, 74% of adults use social media.

However, 73% of companies don’t have an official social media policy.

The new workplace reality is that we are connected 24/7. This means that our personal life inevitably intertwines with our professional experience and vice versa.

Encouraging your team to engage on social media is great and can be highly beneficial to your business, but it is essential that you develop a social media policy to guide behaviour.

 Here are 3 key reasons why you should have a social media policy for your business:

1.      It gives clarity

As with all good policies, a clear social media policy can resolve a problem before it even arises.

Sometimes an issue is created because there isn’t a clear understanding that something is wrong or inappropriate. For instance, my idea of confidential information can be significantly different from what somebody else considers to be confidential.

A social media policy provides guidelines for acceptable online behaviour and removes all subjectiveness surrounding what is appropriate and what is not.

2.      It gives confidence

Clear guidelines in the form of a social media policy will instil confidence in your staff and encourage online activity.

Given they will have a clear understanding of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, they will be more comfortable to engage and utilise the platforms. People who are unsure about unacceptable actions will be less likely to use social media, simply avoiding it altogether. By helping your team be confident it can encourage team members to be involved.

3.      It gives certainty

A social media policy will clearly outline with certainty the consequences for anyone who breaches the policy. A policy breach may be subject to disciplinary action, which can even include termination of employment. This way, employees will be more likely to comply with the stated guidelines as they will understand what will happen if they act inappropriately.

A policy doesn’t have to be lengthy to be effective. As long as it provides clarity to staff on the expected use of social media, actions that are considered appropriate versus inappropriate, and the consequences for employees who do not comply with the policy, it will be an extremely valuable tool. 

Kylie Chown is the current #2 LinkedIn expert in Asia-Pac, 2020 Finalist Best Social Media Educator & Best Use of LinkedIn, Australia’s first Certified Social Media Crisis Advisor and founder of My Digital Brand, helping professionals, businesses and corporates create a world-class digital brand.

For sustained LinkedIn success, you need to educate, support and empower your team so they are LinkedIn champions. This will allow them to have the skills to use LinkedIn to position as experts and get more clients. The LinkedIn for Corporate checklist outlines the critical steps that need to be taken. Click here to get your copy delivered directly to your inbox or you can contact us here.