7 Rules for a Great Employee Social Media Policy
By now, your organization probably has its own social media page. Maybe several. And that’s good. But there’s a way you can take it to the next level – through the untapped potential of the employees who are already active on social media.
Employees can amplify your company’s social media presence by sharing your posts and pages across their personal networks. They can become your staunchest brand advocates.
The question is, how do you encourage them to spread the word about your organization? How do you make sure they don’t say the wrong things?
OK, that’s two questions. But you get the picture.
An official policy for your employees’ personal social media use is a great step toward mobilizing your own social media army. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Align with your company policy
Check with your HR and legal departments – and maybe refresh your memory on your organization’s key messages – while you draft your guidelines.
2. Don’t infringe on rights
Get familiar with labor and free speech laws. For instance, you can’t fire someone for talking or posting about wages or working conditions.
From the National Labor Relations Board:
Employer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.
An employee’s comments on social media are generally not protected if they are mere gripes not made in relation to group activity among employees.
3. Encourage social media use
Avoid scaring your employees away with too many rules – instead, consider offering incentives to those who most actively amplify your message.
4. …But specify when it’s OK
What types of social media activities are allowed during working hours, if any?
5. Ask for disclosure
Keep it legal; make sure your employees disclose that they are employees whenever they promote your company on personal social media pages.
6. Differentiate between facts and opinions
Make sure your employees explain that their opinions are their own, not necessarily the opinions of the company.
7. Protect sensitive information
Outline what isn’t OK to share, such as sales figures, wholesale prices, or stories about difficult customers.
These seven rules will help keep your online image transparent and positive, but it’s not enough to just send an email. Conduct a quick training session in which you explain the policy, give positive and negative examples of social media use, and answer any questions. Start by sharing the company’s overall social media goals and activities. While not everyone will want to be a social advocate, they’ll be more encouraged to participate if they understand what the company is doing and why.
Rules aren’t all you need. Here’s some further reading:
Remember to get a handle on your organization’s mission and vision so you can keep everyone on message.
Great branding starts from the inside out, so lead by example with a healthy company culture.