Actively engaging in social media is essential for most businesses these days, but engagement also means undertaking responsibility for every outbound communication. The social media landscape is littered with stories of companies that didn’t understand the importance of assessing, planning and managing risk at each step along the way.
Additionally, each social network has its own attributes, terms and rules, constantly evolving in features and capabilities. And not all platforms offer help. Some social networks will demand that you spend a certain ad budget with them before they’ll assist you, while others are still in early stages, with limited staff and resources.
With more than a decade of experience in social media and regulated industries, we will work with you to ensure that your social media activity is aligned with your risk and compliance needs, including reputation and crisis management, marketing and the overall brand and business.
Companies and employees that engage in unguided social media activities with little oversight increase their risks substantially. This leads to wasted time, inefficient use of resources and increased costs to a business. It can also lead to brand and reputational damage, organizational gridlock and frustrated employees.
To mitigate these risks, every company should have a governance structure in place that provides oversight and guides its social media initiatives. A governance provides a company with the confidence an audit trail and are essential in the case of lawsuits or regulatory examinations.
What is Social Media Governance?
Social media governance is the system of rules, practices and processes that guides your company’s social media activities. A robust governance structure provides a framework that can be audited and provides documentation and records to support business needs when required.
Governance start with an organizational structure for your social media team. The structure should include C-level and executive stakeholders, and identify roles and responsibilities for who will manage social media within the organization. Governance includes written social media policies and formalized, documented processes. Social media governance should be integrated with other departments such as Risk, Legal and Compliance, Information Technology and Data Security, as well as Human Resources and employee training.
Employees, vendors and other business associates use social media, whether your company has a social media policy or not. Without a workplace social media policy, companies are unnecessarily exposed to many risks.
A written social media policy establishes company expectations and provides guidance to employees on their social media activities. We believe a workplace social media policy every company benefits from a written social media policy. A social media policy is not a silver bullet, but it does help to mitigate the risks associated with your employees and business associates’ use of social media.
Do’s and Don’ts for Employees
Businesses need to make sure that their employees know the “do’s and don’ts” of participating in social media, especially if they’re doing so on behalf of the company. Well-meaning employees may post information about the company they work for on their personal social media accounts and may not know or understand the company’s “rules of the road”.
Every business should make sure that all their employees understand and reflect the company’s identity in any work-related posts and that all marketing activities are aligned.
Personal vs Professional Use of Social Media
It’s particularly important to ensure your employees understand the differences between their personal and professional “face” on the internet. We’re industry leaders in crafting social media policies and guidelines for employees. We can help you put together a set of standards that you and your employees can live by.
Employers and employees both have certain rights and responsibilities when it comes to social media in the workplace. Without adequate training, both companies and employees are at risk.
Rights and Responsibilities Training
Employees may use social media for personal or work-related reasons. Employees may be unaware of their rights and limitations, and their employer’s expectations. Employees should be sufficiently trained so they know and understand their rights and responsibilities, and what they can and cannot do in social media based on their employer’s expectations. Training should also be tailored to their roles and responsibilities related to social media.
Role-based Employee Training
Some employees may use social media as part of their job responsibilities. These employees should be trained on how to use social media appropriately and in the context of their job. Employees may also need to know social media best practices as well as specific use of social media platforms depending on their role. Different levels of training may also be needed depending on the knowledge level of employees.
We provide Basic, Advanced and Mastery social media training, as well as customized training programs for C-level and other executives.
Personal vs Professional Training
Confusion abounds in social media over how employees can and should use social media personally vs at work. We highly recommend that every employee be trained on the differences and distinctions between personal vs. professional use of social media.
We have significant social media policy, governance and employee training experience with a variety of highly-regulated companies and organizations.
Let’s talk about how we can help you manage your company’s risks while remaining competitive and moving forward.
Contact us now to talk about your challenges and opportunities in social media and how we can help.