The world of today requires that social media be an integral part of businesses. Customers want to reach you and for you to respond to their questions, with a recent study showing almost 50% of employees visiting social networks and using them to connect to customers. Due to trends such as employee advocacy, this number is set to grow in the future.
However, social media also teaches us that brand reputation in online spaces is very fragile. Platforms are great because they allow brands to grow in visibility through measures such as using paid services to increase followers on your Instagram or gradually growing over time by building relationships with audiences, but this presents a unique problem: everyone is connected, so a poorly worded or timed message can easily destroy your business.
Giving your employees the power to post whatever they want is a recipe for disaster for your brand, but many companies still lack a social media policy, according to findings from the Pew Research Center.
This is where social media policies come in. In simple terms, they are a code of conduct for your company and dictate to your employees how they should act on social media platforms. This goes a long way to preventing PR disasters, and there are traits every good social media policy must-have. We will look into some of these criteria below.
Ensure you clarify who speaks for your brand or business on social media
To set out any policy of communication, you must decide the people who can speak on behalf of your brand. For instance, you can select a small group of people to handle online communication with your audience but prevent other employees from answering questions and complaints.
Although this may seem restrictive, it is always best to be cautious about who speaks for your brand. Depending on the nature of the business, you will give your employees varying degrees of freedom. If you want to choose certain people to communicate on your behalf, it is always good to train them on your brand guidelines, how to respond to customer comments, maintaining confidentiality, and the consequences of using social media incorrectly.
Create conflict mitigation plans
Social media is volatile, and it is very easy for small conflicts to escalate in scale due to sentiments changing quickly. If you fail to deal with issues appropriately, the problems will only increase. Ensure your employees know the responses they need, whether you are dealing with disagreements or negative comments.
Some organizations find it best to leave the task to staff who are trained in PR, such as assigning some employees to message approvals, crisis responses, social engagement, customer support, and PR management. The alternative is listing rules that your social media policy needs, and reminding employees that everything they post is a reflection of your company.
Some of the best conflict resolution methods involve setting up pre-approved responses that handle common issues. These will allow your audiences to know you are listening to their concerns and are working to solve the issue.
Add personal account guidelines
Humans make mistakes, so you cannot micro-manage everything your employees say or do on their accounts. However, it is always best to show them what the consequences of their behavior are on social media and how it affects your brand negatively.
You should use the company social media policy to let your employees know about your basic expectations. This can include avoiding saying negative comments about other companies or your business, respecting the law, and checking their facts for accuracy. You can also state that the opinions of your employees do not represent your brand, which separates their identity from your business identity.
Keep your brand and its employees secure
Social media is highly popular, and many scammers and criminals lurk in these spaces. Therefore, it is important to have guidelines that protect your brand, as well as your employees. Ensure everyone working alongside you is aware of measures they can take to protect their accounts on social media platforms as well as defensive measures against ransomware and scams.
In conclusion, it is important to protect your brand by using a social media policy. Give your employees the power to deliver the exponential growth social media offers by setting proper guidelines on their online behavior.