In June 2015, BBC journalist Ahmen Khawaja, tweeted that Queen Elizabeth "has died." The reporter apparently considered a BBC practice for the woman's death to be real. Part of the repetition coincidentally occurred at a hospital that England's monarch was visiting for an annual check-up. The reporter, realising her mistake, immediately deleted the tweet and issued a "false alarm." She also claimed the mistake was the result of a "silly prank."
The BBC contradicted Khawaja’s explanation of a joke, saying the accidental tweet was linked to the training exercise. In the meantime, the tweet went viral. The false news spread across social and traditional media, and some news outlets like CNN had to withdraw their related stories.
Nowadays, organisations need a social media policy to protect the brand's reputation and encourage staff participation online. In addition, it prevents unauthorised and inappropriate messages and posts on behalf of your staff and will help avoid a social media disaster.
A social media policy is essential for any organisation using a digital marketing strategy to increase brand awareness and improve customer engagement.
Many companies are still learning when they update their social media policies. They gain more insight into their employees’ social media behavior and how the demand for social media interaction from stakeholders has evolved.
Social media marketing trends have pointed to a focus on employee advocacy, leading many organisations to adopt social media policies that are neither too restrictive nor entirely without limits.
A social media policy provides your staff with guidelines for interacting with clients and stakeholders. It protects your business reputation and their personal safety. It ensures that the people who represent your organisation recognise the consequences of posting insensitive, hateful, obscene, threatening, or discriminatory content that could not only damage the brand's reputation but cost them their job.
Here are three tips to help you a social media policy for your business:
1. Be Clear About Who Can Speak on Behalf of your Organisation
Personnel loyal to their company may get defensive when they read anything online that is negative about their firm. However, unless they are part of the team that is dedicated to answering customer complaints or questions, they should know that they do not have to speak for the company.
Large companies typically have a Customer Experience Manager. They and their team have authorisation to oversee every interaction between the customer and the organisation. For smaller companies, the social media manager may enforce guidelines for employees to engage only in a specific manner that is professional and never opinionated.
If you want to limit employee interaction with customers online, be clear that no employee can answer customer queries other than those they have been trained and assigned to interact with customers.
2. Create Detailed Content Guidelines
It’s natural for new employees to be enthusiastic about their new employer and become the biggest advocates for the brand. They’ll want to post on Facebook and Instagram and, tweet, blog, and share their experiences.
Guidelines will remind staff that they are still representing your company even when they post on their personal accounts. If they are presenting themselves in a bad light, they are still a reflection of your brand even if it is being posted to their private accounts. Anything that they say and post may come back to haunt them, particularly since taking a screen capture of a hostile tweet or inappropriate post before it’s taken down can happen.
By clearly communicating how to represent your business online, including what your personnel can and cannot share, will reduce threats to your brand reputation.
3. Provide Social Media Training
The quality of the training you provide is key for motivation. If you expect your personnel to use social media properly, you should provide high-quality training. This is an essential part of employee advocacy. If you are prepared to enable your staff to be active on social platforms, they need to understand the fundamentals of social media.
Companies want employees to conduct themselves professionally when using social media. Ideally, organisations want their staff to represent themselves online in a way that is consistent with their brand and their policies. Almost all employees are using social media in their personal lives and should be given the skills and education to do this without risk to the company or themselves.
Here are some examples of social media policies :
Government social media policy
Corporate social media policy
Higher education institutions social media policy
If you are you ready to reduce the risk of social media problems, boost your message through employee advocacy and support your social strategy, you can give your staff the skills and confidence they need with our StP Communications Social Media Workshops.