Social media is constantly evolving, and in line with this, it’s crucial that your company’s policies do too. Whether you subscribe to it as a phenomenon or not, social media is here to stay. With 57.1 million active social media users in the UK alone, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your social media policy to keep up.
There are a number of factors to consider when designing a policy that is right for your company. It’s inevitable that your main priority is to protect your reputation. However, there are several other factors you can include, such as how social media influences your recruitment processes, data protection, and your employees’ personal social media use. With these in mind, we have outlined some of the main points to consider in your social media policy.
1. Protecting your reputation
It’s likely that your company has a social media channel that is run by your marketing team. While some companies keep their social media strictly professional in content, some companies opt for a more personal approach as part of their marketing strategy. This can often be done through behind-the-scenes style content, using the people and culture of the company to promote the services that clients engage with. Whichever approach you choose, it’s important to set out how your employees are required to behave when using the company’s social media platforms.
If there is a team responsible for the company’s social media channels, it could be useful to implement a review system to make sure that each post has been approved by a senior member of staff; for example, the Marketing Manager.
Does your company use social media as part of the recruitment process? In the current digital age, you can find out a lot from a quick scroll through someone’s social media profile. While this could be useful to identify certain issues, such as promotion of illegal or offensive ideologies through personal channels, other minor factors, like appearance, could unfairly cloud the recruiter’s judgement of the applicant.
Whether you agree with using social media to evaluate a candidate, or think that it could unfairly cloud the recruiter’s judgement, it should be included in your policy. If you condone it or not, this is a valuable clause to outline in your social media policy to avoid confusion or misdemeanours. It is also worth noting that if you do use social media as part of your recruitment process, then it should be declared on the job advertisement.
3. Business information
If your employees have access to a wealth of business information, then it’s crucial to outline the relevant data protection rules, and highlight the breach of confidentiality if the contacts are extracted for personal use. Similarly, this section should be used to clarify that if an employee exits the company and attempts to poach customers via their social media, then it could result in legal action.
4. Personal use
Whether your company takes advantage of social media’s potential to reach customers or not, it’s still important to consider how your employees’ personal profiles could impact your reputation. We would recommend outlining some guidelines for your employees’ personal use of social media. Similarly, if your employees publicise that they work at your organisation, then it could be encouraged that they also display, ‘all views are my own and not affiliated with [company name]’
The overarching message of the policy should highlight that employees who use social media in the workplace, do not use it in a way that would adversely affect the reputation of the company.
So, in short – yes! Whether social media is an integrated part of your marketing strategy, or you don’t think it factors into your organisation’s culture at all, it’s vital to have a social media policy in place, to offer guidance and raise awareness of how your employees’ social media use could impact their career.
At EKW Group we are qualified CIPD advisors; if you would like further advice about your company’s social media policy, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with Eleanor Taylor at [email protected].
You can find more of the latest HR updates here.