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How To Frame A Social Media Policy For Your Company

By Mayank Goyal July 27, 2016


In today’s fast-growing world of Internet, social media has attained an important role in our lives. From talking to your buddies online to keeping tabs on their activities and knowing about various important events in each other’s lives, it has truly become an essential part of our life. As a result of this high amount of traffic on these sites, it provides a large pool of potential customers to various companies that tap into this through advertising on these sites. They do so by placing various ads online and also by engaging with the customers to enhance their experience in using the product/service purchased.

They engage in dialogues with customers to resolve their queries and any doubts that they might have. It sometimes also acts as a grievance redressal cell of the companies who listen to the customers’ issues through these portals. However, this provides the employees an opportunity to represent the company in front of a huge crowd, and even a small mistake here could be highly detrimental to the company.  Therefore, the company has to be cautious about what the employees write on these sites while representing the company as this could affect their reputation. An example of this is the infamous incident of Domino’s Pizza employee posting a video performing unsanitary acts while on the job, available here (last accessed on 19 July 2016).

This type of incident can seriously hamper the company’s reputation and also have an adverse effect on their sales. Therefore, companies nowadays usually have a Social Media Policy to regulate the actions of their employees and also to absolve themselves of any liability due to the actions of their customer on social media. However, one problem with having such a policy in place is that it restricts the ability of the employees to represent the company in the best way possible because it hampers their ability to form good relations with the customers. However, a good policy and awareness about it, can help protect the company and also allow the employees to work in the most efficient way. Having a Social Media Policy can help you protect your company’s reputation, minimize confusion about murky legal issues, and raise awareness of your brand.

 

Drafting a Social Media Policy

# This policy applies to both company sponsored social media and personal use as it relates to the company.

# Define roles for each job and who is responsible for which job.

# Form a working group that contains people with all the required skills, like marketing management, IT, social media marketing, legal and audit, and human resources.

# Include company bloggers in developing the policies and guidelines.

# Draft a policy with legal portion: Ensure that you don’t get stuck in any legal problem due to the employee’s mistake. Include provisions for legal issues that your company is likely to come across. For example, if you are involved in postings on the internet through the company’s social media account, then the employee should do proper citations for work borrowed or repost.

# Privacy and Disclosure Clauses: Clearly define what information is inappropriate to disclose.

# Confidentiality Clause: Give strict instructions about not disclosing confidential information. If any confidential information is in fact posted (might be due to some error), give reason while removing that from the site/blog/page.

# Keep policies wide enough to include new and emerging technologies, like podcasts.

# Indicate clearly in the posts, whether the views presented are that of the company or of the employee.

# Other types of social media: The policies developed for blogging and company websites apply to employees using other types of social media.

# Consider your audience: Make sure the employees are aware that their readers include both the current and potential future clients. As a result, your posts must be friendly to both the sets and do not ignore them.

# Keep the posts kind and polite: Correct the mistakes on your end, ignore rude or abusive posts, respond to all the posts with relevant facts. There is no harm in blocking or banning a user if that is the most appropriate step and finally, try to come up with unique responses.

# Create Awareness about the guidelines among the employees.

# Bring value: Always remember that the main aim is to interact with the customers. This can be used to create hype about your upcoming product or for better marketing of your products through these social media. This adds value to your followers as you can make a profit from managing/using these accounts effectively.

# Keep your policy updated with the latest trends, changes and inventions in the social media.

 

 

Here (last accessed on 19 July, 2016) is a list of some of the most prominent companies, organizations and groups having their own social media policy, along with a link to the policy itself.

 

You can find  a sample social media policy for your company Here.

 

 

SOURCES:

  1. Domino's Workers Disgusting YouTube Video: Spitting, Nose-Picking and Worse (VIDEO), Huffington Post (15 May 2009), available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/dominos-workers-disgustin_n_186908 (last accessed on 19 July, 2016)
  2. Social Media Policy Database, Social Media Governance, available at: http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies/ (last accessed on 19 July, 2016)
  3. How to Write a Social Media Policy for Your Company, Dara Fontein, Hootsuite (13 Jan 2016) available at: https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-policy-for-employees/ (last accessed on 19 July, 2016)
  4. Social media policies, Socialmedia.biz, available at: http://socialmedia.biz/social-media-policies/ (last accessed on 19 July, 2016)
  5. Best practices for developing a social media policy, Socialmedia.biz, available at: http://socialmedia.biz/social-media-policies/best-practices-for-developing-a-social-media-policy/ (last accessed on 19 July, 2016)
  6. Employees Gone Wild: 8 Reasons You Need A Social Media Policy TODAY, Anthonia Akitunde, American Express: Open Forum, available at: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/employee-social-media-policy/ (last accessed on 19 July, 2016)
  7. Do You Need a Social Media Policy?, Tamara Schweitzer, Inc.: Articles (25 Jan 2010) available at: http://www.inc.com/articles/2010/01/need-a-social-media-policy.html (last accessed on 19 July, 2016)
  8. Taco Bell Worker Appears to Be Licking a Bunch of Taco Shells in This Facebook Picture (PHOTO), The Huffington Post (03 June 2013), available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/taco-bell-worker-licking_n_3377709 (last accessed on 20 July, 2016)
  9. 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy, Sharlyn Lauby, Mashable (02 June 2009), available at: http://mashable.com/2009/06/02/social-media-policy-musts/#2InqkpCKsaqJ (last accessed on 20 July, 2016)
  10. Best Buy Social Media Policy, Best Buy Support (‎24 March 2009, last edited on ‎10 Feb 2014), available at: http://forums.bestbuy.com/t5/Welcome-News/Best-Buy-Social-Media-Policy/td-p/20492 (last accessed on 20 July, 2016)
  11. Picture Credits: http://wersm.com/5-characteristics-of-a-great-social-media-policy/

 

- Mayank Goyal (Jindal Global Law School, 4th Year)

Tags: Social Media Policy , comapny , social media , opportunity to represent the company , domino's pizza video incident , regulate the actions of employees , protect the company , employees working in efficient way , raise awareness of your brand , tips for drafting social media policy , tips


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By Mayank Goyal July 27, 2016