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Why Small Businesses Need a Social Media Policy

Social media has become an important part of an organization’s marketing strategy. While it does enable businesses to connect with customers in a more personal level, it also provides liberties that can be easily misused. Here are guidelines in implementing a social media policy.

Include social media in the confidentiality agreement.
It’s common sense to know what confidential information is, but having a personal account creates an illusion of security – My boss isn’t on my friend’s list and he/she isn’t following me on Instagram, so I’m safe, right?

Social media is also a convenient outlet to vent frustration. Whether it’s about salary, workplace drama or lack of decent facilities, it can paint an unpleasant picture of the company. Business owners shouldn’t underestimate their staff, too. Numerous pictures of fast food employees doing disgusting things to food are all over the internet.

Business owners should be specific and clear on what information can’t be shared online. Most people forget that it’s not about the medium, it’s the message. The fact that it’s in the internet, no matter what social media network it was posted on, is already a breach of the confidentiality agreement.

Ensure that all new hires read the fine print.
It’s not uncommon for people to nod their way through a job interview and sign an offer without reading the fine print. It’s difficult to find a job these days. Most people would skip the lengthy text to look at the salary.

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A top Lacoste salesman posted his pay check online admitting, “I just clicked ‘accept terms’ on that, you know?” Consequently, he got fired two weeks later and doesn’t know which of his followers (some are his former colleagues) turned him in.

Business owners and their HR staff should make sure that all employees thoroughly read their contract and confidentiality agreement.

Manage your social media image.
Once it’s on the internet, it’s fair game.  Creating a negative Facebook page is as easy as building a branded one. The Condescending Corporate Brand Facebook page is notorious for featuring blunders from corporate ads. Unfortunately, they’re also right.

The marketing team should ensure that intellectual property rights, such as copyright and trademarks, are in place. All campaigns should be meticulously reviewed and proofread. Most importantly, they should also check online if any ads are misused.

Business owners can’t police their employee’s social media usage, but they should ensure that everyone knows their responsibility.

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