As more and more businesses address this matter, perhaps now is the time for your business to review its social media policy or put one in place should things have been left standing rather loosely on this matter.
Above all else, your company should be prepared to answer any and all questions regarding its social media policy should talk of a lawsuit come up either in-house or from an outside source who feels they were damaged by something someone in your company put out on Facebook, Twitter or another such site.
Whether you have social media guidelines in place and they might need to be revisited or you do not have a policy in effect, take a few minutes to consider the following:
· Whether you like it or not, many of your employees utilize social media on a daily basis, both during and before and after work. Even if you ban social media sites from office computers, individuals can still access them with their mobile phones, etc. So, is it not better to allow social media in the office with some guidelines in place when all is said and done?
· Social media can be an integral part of your company and effectively doing business. The ability to have real-time interaction with current and potential customers is never ending. To ban all social media in the office, both work and personal related, is something that could have repercussions for you in more ways than one.
· You could lose out on some good employees with too many restrictions in place. Let’s face it, we live in a 24/7 information age, both at work and outside the office. While you do not want your employees spending an endless amount of time tweeting and sharing personal stuff when they’re supposed to be working, cracking down on them day in and day out may lead to losing some talented workers. In the end, was it worth it having such tight restrictions in place that you drove away some good, hard-working people to other companies where restrictions were a little more lax?
· Make sure you separate an employee’s social media efforts between business and personal. While on the clock, the employee is representing your company and all it stands for. That being the case, it is important that they know what is and isn’t permissible with social media. Inappropriate language, images, bad-mouthing the company etc. should not be tolerated. Remember, however, each individual and their tweets or shares need to be looked at so that you’re not discriminating against someone’s freedom of speech. When looking at your social media policy, make sure whether or not you have given employees the permission to identify themselves as representatives of the business.
· Lastly, review your social media policy on a regular basis. Just as employees change over time, so do company policies. Be sure to update your SM policy to make sure it is relevant to the current times. Not updating the policy could open you up to employee issues, possible lawsuits and more down the road. Most importantly, make sure all current employees understand without question what they can and cannot do while working when it comes to social media.
Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjects’ home based jobs, writes extensively for www.business.com an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.