Social media is a great tool for connecting with your customers, promoting your products and services, and finding out more about important business trends. The most successful companies know how to use social media well, and even include it in their day-to-day management in order to expand their reach and increase their knowledge of their customers. Social media can transform your business relationships and improve your opportunities for success, but only if you know how to use it.
While the inclusion of social media as part of your business strategy can certainly be beneficial to your business, social media can also pose a risk. According to Pew Research, almost 74% of adults with access to the Internet are active on social media sites. This means that a fair majority of your staff has an account on at least one social media platform and visits it at some point in the day (yes, even while on the clock).
In order to protect your business and ensure that your employees are not going overboard on personal social media use at the office, it is important to create and maintain a social media policy governing how your employees may use social media in the workplace. Here are a few tips to help you create an effective policy:
- Make a clear distinction between business and personal use. Remember, in today’s modern business world, social media is a business asset so don’t create a policy so extreme that it does not permit any type of access to social media platforms. In fact, your business can benefit from allowing your employees to use their personal accounts in order to promote your brand. Just be sure to clearly outline in your policy what your employees can and cannot reveal on social platforms about your business. If some of your staff members have separate business-related accounts, it may be a good idea to create a separate policy for them.
- Consider creating an internal social channel. Social networking has proven to be have a positive impact on work culture. However, if you want to keep the conversation internal, consider setting up an internal network that would only be accessible through employee self-service. Employees could use this network to congratulate each on job promotions, communicate about upcoming events, suggest new ideas for workplace improvement or simply engage in conversation. This also provides lower-level staff members with the chance to interact and get to know executives on a more personal level.
- Address legal aspects in your policy. Social media use can have legal ramifications, as you have likely seen or heard about in the news. Be careful about how you word your policy, especially as it relates to labor-related issues set forth in the National Labor Relations Act. Do your work and determine what you can and cannot include in your social media policy so you are not violating any employee rights.
- Inform your employees of your social media policy. If your employees don’t know your policy exists, it is useless. Address social media as part of the initial training process for all new hires, and make sure you provide existing employees with a copy of your policy.
- Update your social media policy periodically. Social media is constantly changing, as are the laws governing its use in the workplace. Make sure you regularly update your policy in order to reflect the current business culture or social environment, and provide all employees with an updated policy.
How is your business using social media? Do you permit employees to use personal social accounts during the day? Why or why not? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
To learn more about how your business can use social media to expand its reach, download our whitepaper, “The Four Wheels Driving Your Business into the Future.” This resource highlights the benefits of social media and can help you determine how you use social media in the workplace going forward.