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Why Every Business Needs a Social Media Policy

DU Friend HR Dept. takes us through why every business needs a social media policy, what should be included in one, and how they work.

With a large percentage of the population being avid social media users it’s safe to assume that some, if not all, of your employees have an online persona.

You may even have put the most socially savvy of them in charge of your own business social media accounts, to manage your brand reputation online.

Whilst it’s advantageous for your business to have a team proficient in digital communication skills, it can become a problem if an employee overshares online or impulsively pushes an inappropriate photo out to their extended network.

Since the dawn of social media, we have seen numerous faux pas play out. From big brand cringe moments like when an HMV employee live tweeted from the brand account about a company restructure with mass redundancies. To celebrities losing jobs or opportunities after making controversial comments online, most recently including Roseanne Barr, Kevin Hart and Danny Baker.

With the world so easily accessible at employees’ fingertips, how can you maintain your brand reputation and protect your business from being caught up in an awkward situation?

Protect your business with a social media policy

Although you cannot manage what employees are sharing on their personal social media accounts, you can set rules regarding usage at work and provide guidance on expected behaviours online.

Your policy can remind employees that their actions reflect on your business and that impulsive or thoughtless posts could get them into trouble at work.

What should be included in a social media policy?

Usage – Unless being active on social media is essential to an employee’s role, it’s a good idea to make it clear in your policy that personal use during working hours is not permitted.

Confidentiality – You’ll certainly want to restrict employees sharing or publicly discussing any confidential details related to your business. Specifically, any trade secrets, financial, operational or legal information and private client data.

Boundaries – Set boundaries for employees and explain that discriminatory posts by them on social media will not be tolerated and could be classed as gross misconduct.

You can also ask them to add a disclaimer to their personal profiles which reminds other users that the employee is an individual and their posts are not a representation of their employer.

Representation – If you have employees in charge of your business social media accounts, it would be wise to mention this specifically in your policy. Provide guidelines on what is and isn’t appropriate for the business account and mention that any mismanagement will be in breach of the company social media policy.

How does a social media policy work?

The policy makes your expectations on social media activity clear to employees. It must also point out consequences and processes in the event of a policy breach. By implementing and following official processes, you can protect yourself and your business if taken to an employment tribunal. With this in mind, it is important to be able to demonstrate that all employees have seen and understood the policy.

Some difficult conversations can arise from addressing conflict. So if you would like to know what you can do rather than what you can’t, get in touch with your local HR Dept today. We’ll give you peace of mind so that you can move forward with the best decisions for your business.

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