While some companies employ social media specialists to manage their social media accounts, others may leave the task in the hands of their employees or an outside person or company.
Whichever way you choose to handle your social media efforts, you have to be prepared to deal with certain risks. Due to the far-reaching impact of social media marketing, any mistake or negative comment can have a potentially devastating effect on your business.
Having a social media policy enables you to regulate your social media activities and minimize errors that can undermine your company's reputation and profitability.
What is a Social Media Policy?
A social media policy is a set of standards that a company expects its social media managers and employees to follow when they are using social media websites.
Generally, it consists of a list of things that employees should do or avoid when they are participating in social media. It may also detail the possible consequences of failing to comply with the policy.
The Benefits of Implementing a Social Media Policy
Prevents Costly Social Media Mistakes
If your social media managers or employees use inappropriate language, make negative or insensitive comments, or commit certain errors on social media, they can put your company in a bad light.
Also, there is a possibility that they will deliberately or unintentionally disclose your company's confidential information. Some social media errors can be resolved with little or no consequences, while others can result in loss of reputation and credibility, decline in sales and even lawsuits.
If you have a social media policy in place, your employees will know exactly what they can and cannot do and how to behave on social media, and they will be much less susceptible to making mistakes.
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Provides a Clear Understanding of Your Company Culture
Social media can be an excellent tool for providing a clear insight into the culture and values of your company.
If your employees know how to use the right language and methods to reinforce your company culture on social media, they can generate more interest in your company and help build customer loyalty.
A social media policy enables you to maintain a positive perception of your company's culture and values.
Minimizes Loss of Productivity
When your employees are using social media, they may end up participating in social interactions that are unrelated to your business. This can result in significant loss of work time and productivity.
With a social media policy, you can limit the amount of time your employees can use social media for personal purposes.
Examples of the Consequences of Not Having a Social Media Policy
In 2011, an employee of Red Cross posted a message about drinking Dogfish Head beer and "getting slizzerd" on the organization's Twitter account.
This certainly caused some embarrassment, but Red Cross handled the matter well by saying that it was a harmless mistake. In another case, Chrysler had to apologize for using inappropriate language when the person who was managing its Twitter account posted a tweet saying that people in Detroit do not know "how to f***king drive".
If you are using social media extensively to promote your business, it is essential that you have a social media policy.
A social media policy can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy.
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