23 Nov Why You Need A Social Media Policy For Staff – Right Now!
Social media is a powerful tool that has a significant impact on both professional and organizational reputation because the lines between personal and organizational voices can often become blurred. There is an urgent need for organizations to implement guidelines to provide standards of professional practice and conduct for their employees when using social media as well as to encourage active participation and interaction between employees and an organization’s public online users in order to effectively promote your organization.
According to the Digital Landscape in South Africa 2018 report 16 million users make use of social media platforms, which is a third of our total population. Facebook is the most utilized at close to 29% of the population or 16 million users, with Twitter at 8million users, LinkedIn at 6,1million and Instagram at 3,8million. With regards to brands 97% use Facebook; 90% Twitter; with LinkedIn and Instagram tied at 72% and YouTube at 68%. Facebook is now a rival to radio and TV for reaching the broader population. And it has one massive advantage: that communication is two-way, and can be measured precisely.
Most advertisers believe they see a return on investment when they advertise on social media. 86% of brands receive a return on investment when they advertise on Facebook; with 45% on Twitter; 40% on Instagram and 35% on LinkedIn. By far the most common benefit they see is brand awareness, followed by customer insights and sales. With statistics like these it is crucial that you have a Social Media Policy in place for your organization!
It is important to develop policy guidelines that establish the principles for employees using social media for official communication purposes as well as the personal use of social media by employees, when the employee’s affiliation is identified, known, or presumed to be connected to your organization.
It is important for an organization’s Social Media Policy to provide a standard for personal responsibility for all employees, to identify the potential benefits and risks associated with these tools as well as guidance on the best-practice use of social media in the business environment.
It is important that you have an officially appointed communication spokespersons and to let all employees know that only these spokespersons may communicate on behalf of your organization on any public communication platform, this includes all social media platforms.
Employees need to be mindful that any opinion or personal information that is disclosed about themselves or colleagues may be linked to the organization’s name and reputation. This is true even if they have restricted their page to be viewed only by friends.
Showcasing Work On Personal Sites, Blogs And Social Networks
Employees must not share any information pertaining to proprietary company information that they are involved with or that they are working on. Only official spokespersons may communicate any information concerning the company or its products.
Interacting With An Organization’s Social Media Accounts
It is important that employees are encouraged to interact by retweeting and sharing material posted on your official company’s social media accounts on social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). Comments should not be controversial but rather supporting posts or adding to them in a positive light.
Interacting On Personal Accounts
You need to make employees aware that when they are interacting on social media in their own capacity they must not speak on behalf of your company, or as a representative thereof without obtaining prior consent.
Duty To Report
It is also important to note that employees need to be made aware that it is their duty to report any information that they may become aware of that brings the name of the organization into disrepute.
Finally – When Using Social Media
- Be credible – accurate, fair, thorough and transparent
- Be respectful – encourage constructive criticism and deliberation
- Be cordial, honest and professional at all times.