social-media-rulebook-mark-f-simmons-mixed-digital

There’s an abundance of news reports these days about businesses getting into trouble as a result of what they or their employees have done on their social platforms. These troubles usually occur when a company doesn’t have a corporate social rulebook in place, the ones that for some reason don’t see a need to protect their brand from negative posts that can lead to potential legal problems. Some of these businesses simply assume that their employees are savvy enough to realize how damaging information can be when they post on social media; in other cases, they overlook this important part of their marketing program because they don’t fully understand its reach.

Having a well thought out corporate social rulebook in place provides businesses with an efficient framework to execute a social media strategy and implement beneficial social media tactics. In addition, this rulebook can have a direct impact on the success of their social media endeavors. Some of the major benefits of having effective guidelines in place include providing ways to improve social media performance, providing employees with the guidelines they need to work effectively together and makes it possible to quickly respond to emergencies before they turn into a crisis. Having the right guidelines in place will also have a positive impact on the company’s overall success.

Increased Influence Over Employees
Among other things, companies should have a stipulation in their rulebook that states that employees are not permitted to display posts of a personal nature on the company’s social media business networks. It’s actually quite common for a company to overlook these important factors when it comes to social media and allows employees to post what could be potentially damaging personal matters. Instead, clearly point out what your social media strategies and goals are and make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Behaviors Toward Customers
Companies with social rulebooks in place have more protection when it comes to their employees’ attitude toward their clients, preventing uncomplimentary, disparaging posts about the company or their customers. It’s important that businesses clearly forbid unlawful harassment on social media as well in their policies and procedures. In addition, clearly define what’s allowed and what’s considered confidential, proprietary and inappropriate to share via social media and be fully aware of the global implications of your communications. Social business conversations also need to avoid any inappropriate comments regarding competitors online.

Getting Caught in the Crosshairs
A prevalent theme among businesses that end up ensnared in the crosshairs of the Federal Trade Commission, the National Labor Relations Board and/or the company’s own employees is that the companies that are involved typically don’t have a corporate social media rulebook in place. Or, even if they do have a rulebook in place, they didn’t feel it was important enough to take the time to educate their employees about the costs that are associated with potentially damning social media practices. It’s crucial the businesses today put educating their employees regarding the common sense practices of using social media at the top of their educational list, thereby avoiding potential problems like defamation and various other forms of wrongful disclosure.

Does your company have a formal policy in place? Have any stories to share about social media gone wrong in the professional space? Leave a comment!

Yours in success,

Mark