Recent controversy around social media activity of public sector employees has again raised the important questions about whether business and organisations should be developing social media policies for their staff.

Writing for recently, Larry Alton explains that having a social media policy in place for your business “…gives your employees guidelines for interacting with customers and protecting their personal safety, as well as your business’s reputation.”

While he admits there may be some reluctance from staff to adapt to such a policy, walking them through the need can alleviate concerns and help them understand the role they can play in building the company presence online.

In the piece, he offers a number of simple steps that need to be considered when developing a social media policy.

#1: Explain who can speak for your company on social media

While some companies have dedicated social media teams, others may be open to all their staff interacting with clients or the broader community on behalf of your business. Either way, he says this question requires careful consideration and discussion with staff.

“Whether your social media policy is more strict or relaxed depends on your business and your knowledge of your employees. Stifling employees’ ability to express themselves can diminish the customer experience,” he writes “However, passionate employees could be unaware that their resolutions may not be in line with the company’s intentions.”

#2: Create detailed guidelines for business and personal conduct on social media

“Your social media policy should provide detailed content guidelines for all of your employees who regularly (or occasionally) post on social media as your business,” he writes “To help employees understand your expectations and create a consistent voice for the business, you can include standard responses to common situations in your policy.”

This is particular the case when handlin complaints and conflict online – an issue that has the capacity to quickly escalate and cause further damage to you organisation if not handled correctly.

#3: Protect your employees and sensitive business information

Alton points at that it is difficult to expect all your employees to understand what business information is sensitive, while many tend to share much of their daily lives online.

“For these reasons, your policy needs to clarify what business-related information employees shouldn’t share,” he writes. “Your policy needs to prohibit posts that put your business or staff at risk and explain how or why certain information creates a risk. If you run a coffee shop, for example, information about your opening procedures can be considered sensitive information because someone can easily use it when looking to steal from or hurt your employees.”

For guidance on how you should you develop and deliver a social media policy for your company, get in touch with the business2one team today.