|Is Your Company at Risk with Social Media? |
Do You Need a Social Media Policy? Social media has become the quickest way to demonstrate the opportunities and risks of technology. Within the business sphere, social media sites including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Flickr, and blogs have become increasingly popular in promoting a company's brand and sharing information with clients and prospective clients.
How popular is social media with your employees? What are your employees saying on social media about you, your company, and their day at work? How much are they exposing you to the risks of a bad reputation, the loss of both existing and potential clients, loss of patent and copyright opportunities, and increased costs and time to defend your company against government agencies and other companies? How often do they expose co-workers' private information? How much time do they spend at work updating their personal social media content?
Before developing a social media policy, each business owner must evaluate how they currently use social media or plan to use it, then determine what type of policy is needed. If your business needs a social media policy, what should be included in the policy?
Topics that can be addressed in a social media policy include:
- How the company must be represented to the public.
- The ownership of the social media account and the data. For example, if an employee creates a Facebook account with his/her personal email address to promote the company's services, then leaves the company, can the business owner access the account to update or close the account?
- The definition of company property in social media use. If an employee accesses social media sites from a company-issued cell phone or laptop, who is responsible for the data shared?
- The release of confidential or proprietary information, or information not yet released by the company.
- Training requirements and ground rules for employees identified to manage social media accounts and participate in online discussions.
- The privacy rights of all clients and employees.
- An overview of how social media use will be monitored.
- Clear outline of the consequences of not complying with the policy.
Your employees may already exercise caution and common sense when communicating online, but this must not be assumed. Establishing a formal policy will protect you, your business, your employees, and your clients. In addition, put monitoring tools, such as daily news and RSS feeds in place to monitor your online image. Finally, enforce the policy.