If you’re operating a business that engages with customers through social media, it’s important to have your employees be mindful of the type of content they post on behalf of the company. Social media postings are permanent, and inappropriate postings can damage the reputation of your firm.
Creating employee policies that govern social media postings is a good way to limit your company’s exposure to liability while still marketing the firm. Here are ten rules for social media.
1. Maintain honesty and transparency
Proper communication is essential to maintain your company’s credibility. If employees comment on the industry or the firm, they should always disclose that they are an employee; this is ethical and prevents others from saying they may have been trying to hide their affiliation with the business.
2. Fact check all comments
Employees must ensure accuracy and verify that postings are based in fact before they’re uploaded.
3. Include a disclaimer
This is necessary if what is being posted is based on the employee’s opinion or represents a company position.
4. Respect copyright and trademark laws
Employees that post on social media sites should be respectful of copyright and trademark laws for the benefit of the company, and properly cite materials used in postings and provide links to original content.
5. Maintain coworkers’ privacy
The privacy of coworkers’ and members’ personal information is essential, and should not be violated unless there is consent to do so. This applies to photographic content, as well.
6. Always post as if you represented the company
When employees are posting on their personal social media sites, they should still carry themselves respectfully as if they are representatives of the company, whether or not they are speaking on behalf of the firm at that time.
7. Do not reveal confidential information
Confidential or proprietary information should never appear on social media sites.
8. Do not discuss pricing, deals, or boycotts
Employees should be respectful of antitrust laws and avoid discussions of industry pricing, refusals to deal, or industry boycotts.
9. Correct unclear statements
Be sure that employees clarify any statements that may be misinterpreted. Reviewing sites after comments have been posted is useful to make sure customers are not posting their concerns on the sites.
10. Make sure that employees understand the role of social media
Employees must understand the role that social media plays in the business, and the importance of engaging customers through these sites is needed. This is especially true for those employees who are new to the company or who may not understand how social media works, such as some older employees whose online experience is limited.
Make sure all employees are trained on how to post online, as well as what to post. Thinking before they post is an important practice for employees. Encourage them to ask for help if they’re unsure.