3 compelling reasons why your business needs a social media policy

It is unrealistic to forbid your company’s employees from using social media, either on the job or after hours. Even if you restrict access to social media on your company’s computers and internal network, individual employees can – and will – access social media platforms on personal computes, smartphones and tablets.

Additionally, if you attempt to prevent your company’s workers from using social media or punish them for doing so, you may run afoul of the National Labor Relations Board. A better course of action is to develop a comprehensive and fair social media policy and ensure that your company’s employees understand the policy and the consequences for violation.

Protect Your Company
Employees who comment irresponsibly about your company run the risk of disclosing confidential or proprietary information that could adversely affect your company’s operations. Another risk is that reckless employee comments about your company could damage its reputation or it’s standing in the community, placing it at a disadvantage among its competitors. However, attempting to censor, discipline or worse, dismiss employees who comments about the company may lead to legal problems for your company. This is especially true if employees’ comments occur during his or her off hours and were made using his or hr own equipment. A well considered social media policy minimizes this sort of risk

Establish Clear Conduct Guidelines
Given that it is nearly impossible to prevent your company’s employees from using social media either on the job or at home, it makes sense to establish consistent guidelines about what conduct is and is not acceptable. Putting a social media policy in place makes it clear to employees that certain conduct, such as revealing proprietary company information or misrepresenting themselves as speaking officially on behalf of the company, will have negative consequences.

Enhance Business Brand
One of the main advantages of social media is that it has a tremendous capacity to raise awareness of your company. A positive aspect of a social media policy is that it provides guidelines for employees about how to portray the company’s products, services and special projects to people outside the company. Establishing a social media policy also provides benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of your company’s marketing and promotional efforts. Taking this sort of positive, proactive approach transforms your company’s social media policy from a set of restrictions restraining your employees’ free speech to a tool your workers can harness in their discussions of the company.

Implementing a Social Media Policy
Forming an effective social media policy for your company requires input from employees at all levels of the company and from every division. Your sales staff will naturally have different perspectives and concerns than those of your security minded technical officers. The social media policy should address. Any prospective social media policy should be submitted to an attorney to avoid potential legal pitfalls, such as unreasonable restraint on speech or inconsistencies in the policy. After the policy has been created and before it is implemented, training sessions may be called for to ensure that everyone is on the same page from the outset.

OSM would like to thank Frank Ashton who is a business website marketing consultant. He regularly blogs about the growing importance of social media as part of a business marketing policy. His articles mainly appear on business blogs. Visit WhoIsHostingThis for information about webhosting services.

3 compelling reasons why your business needs a social media policy