Social Media Policy: yes or no?

Good morning, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

My blog today is about social media policies, this was inspired by getting sent the below chart from Marketing Sherpa.  Whether or not your organisation has a social media policy is obviously not a high priority for organisations, looking at the below results where only 25% said they had one.

MarketingSherpa.com Chart of the Week
Why is that?

We have all heard about people being fired for their social media misconduct, but it seems to me that organisations often react AFTER the horse has bolted – i.e. when a problem arises rather than before.  Also I have spoken to numerous organisations who are worried about people using Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn etc in work hours and how they control it.  The way they often control it is not giving people access to it from work computers, however that doesn’t always solve the problem.

Let me ask you a few questions….

  1. How do you know that the people who work for you are not sitting there emailing their friends all day?
  2. How do you know that the people who work for you aren’t using the phone for personal calls?
  3. How do you monitor what your team say to customers either face to face or over the phone?

To answer these questions most organisations don’t know because they can’t police it every second of the day, instead they TRUST their team to do the right thing because they explain up front how to

  • talk to customers
  • use email only for work
  • use the phone only for work

Then usually new staff for the first few times/days are closely monitored, and once off on their own maybe odd checks here or there are done.  But at the end of the day if one of your team was rude/obnoxious etc. to a customer, on the phone or in person, 9 times out of 10 you probably wouldn’t know about it, and you certainly would probably not have the opportunity to fix it.  In social media everything that people write is recorded online….

Back to the Policy

A social media policy is a way to

  • explain the rules of the game, ie this is how you use it
  • explain what is acceptable and not acceptable in terms of behaviour
  • explain what the line is that if you cross gets you fired/told off etc.

I really don’t understand why people panic so much about this, because if anything if someone screws up on Facebook etc you can see it and fix it – if they are rude to a customer on the phone or in a store you won’t see it and can’t fix it unless that customer comes to you directly to complain, which most times doesn’t happen.  Instead those customers just moan to their friends or on Facebook/Twitter etc about how awful your organisation is.

I think that organisations are still scared about putting themselves out there because of “what happens if someone says something bad to us?”  Let me tell you they are going to say it anyway, whether you use social media or not, but if you have people who are trained to deal with it then you can quickly turn it around.

If you don’t have a social media policy and someone says or does something that you don’t think is acceptable how does the poster know that?  No one explained what was acceptable, no one told them that if they do x it will get them fired.

Lots of questions, lots of thoughts… have a think, is it fair to expect your team to use social media without any training regarding what is and isn’t acceptable?  Then, when they cross that line in your head telling them off?  Putting a line in the sand and letting people know how it works makes for happier staff, happier customers and a happier you…  Now are you going to get a social media policy?

Here’s some resources to get you going

How to write a social media policy

How to create a social media policy

100 examples of social media policies

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