What is a social media policy and why every company needs one

August 22, 2012 8:28 am

Don’t be a twit

When it comes to social media do you know what your employees are saying about you?
Do you know what they are tweeting? Could what they say damage your brand?

The internet has been rife with ‘internet trolls’ over the past few months. From those
making comments about Gary Barlow and his personal tragedy to Tom Daley being a
target during his Olympic diving competition. At what point did it become OK for people to
make nasty, offensive and hurtful comments? Well, quite frankly it didn’t.

Social media allows users to have freedom of speech. But when that freedom is abused
should it be down to the police to resolve? When it comes to deformation of character what
are the necessary steps that should be taken to stop this?

When it comes to your brand you need to do all you can to protect it. As well as your
brand and company social media profiles your employees also have their own Facebook,
Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. But how do you know what they are saying? If you knew
what they were saying, would you be happy?

Imagine the horror of the employees of this recent spate of Twitter trolls? Take the Gary
Barlow tweets for example. The names of those writing hurtful comments are all over the
news. When you Google these people it comes up with their Twitter profile ‘Joe Blogs,
currently works at xxx’.

The police are starting to take action, but what about the action you can take? Your brand
and company could be at risk. And although we don’t advise you require everyone in your
building to delete their social network accounts we do firmly believe in social media policy.

Policing social media

Social media that is used in the wrong way could fast become an HR issue. Sarcastic
comments, bickering or slander could have massive implications for your company. But
there is a way to ensure this doesn’t happen. Of course we are not suggesting for one
second that everyone in your office wants to slate your company via social media. But one
misunderstood comment could be all it takes.

By having a social media policy in place you are taking a precaution. Blocking the sites
won’t make much of a difference. Your staff have access to smartphones and could still
make comments when at home.

Your policy should highlight that action will be taken should their social media activity bring
the business into a negative light. Encourage your staff to act with caution when posting
on Facebook and Twitter, whether they make comments during work hours or at home.

Let them know that if there is reason to believe that defamatory comments have been
made then there will be legal action taken.

There have been such cases of late and they should act as a warning. They should also
act as a warning to employers to ensure that they have a social media policy in place.
This is also your responsibility to prevent. Don’t be a Twit, Tweet with caution.

If you want to find out more then contact us at mmadigital. Also, you can check back and
read our regular blog posts on this subject.

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