Whether you know it or not, your employees are likely using social media, often during work hours. With up to 74% of online adults using some kind of social networking platform, social media policies are critical to your business. If your company doesn’t have a social media policy yet – or if you haven’t updated yours in a while, here are four things to consider:
1. IT Risks
When employees use social media on company devices, the company is open to an incredible risk. Trojan horses and malware are often transmitted through social media, particularly clickbait articles and tag targeting. In July of this year, 10,000 Facebook users were infected with malware within 48 hours. It only takes one wrong click to open your company up to serious IT risks. And depending on your industry, just allowing employees to use company devices can actually subject your company to expensive fines. Your social media policy should outline when and where social media should be accessed, and make it clear why those rules are in place. Employees are less likely to break the rules if they understand the ramifications of doing so.
2. Reputation Risk
Every few months there’s some sort of social media scandal that hits the news or goes viral. An employee writes a Facebook post ranting about their supervisor or the company in general and is then fired for the post. It reflects badly on everyone involved. Often it results in the employee losing their job, the company having to issue an apology (or worse, deal with litigation), and ultimately the company has to find a new employee to fill the now vacant position. That’s a lot of time and money wasted, but it can be avoided by clearly setting expectations with all your employees about how to social media.
3. Reputation Rewards
While there is risk involved when employees post about your company on social media, there can also be a great reward. Employee advocacy is a powerful way to reach potential customers and clients. One study shows that just a 12% increase in employee advocacy can more than double revenue. That’s why your social media policy shouldn’t be an outright ban on all social media. Instead, empower your employees to use social media effectively and safely. Share specific examples of how to talk about your company the right way – and also show the wrong way, so they can see exactly what they should avoid doing.
While a social media policy is important, be sure it reflects the values and culture of your business. There are many things to consider when creating a policy, like cyber security, free speech rights, and employee advocacy. A good social media policy will protect your business, your employees, and the bottom line. By keeping the line of communication open internally, you can ensure your employees will use social media responsibly.