As a small-business owner, you know that social media is a powerful tool to reach new customers and grow your brand. But did you know that social media can also be a liability if it’s not used correctly?
If you or your employees are not careful, the wrong social media post can damage your company’s reputation, leak sensitive information, or even get you sued. What your staff post on their personal accounts can also reflect poorly on your business or, worse, lead to a security breach.
That’s why it’s so important to have a social media policy in place to set clear expectations for everyone in your company and protect your business from potential risks.
What is a social media policy?
A social media policy is a document that outlines how your business should use social media. It governs your company's official communication channels and sets guidelines for employee behavior on social media sites.
Why do you need a social media policy?
There are several good reasons for your business to have a social media policy. These are to:
Provide guidance on what company information employees can and cannot share
You don’t want your employees accidentally sharing sensitive company information or trade secrets online. By implementing a social media policy, you can make sure everyone in your company knows what information they can and can’t share on the web.
Confidential company information, such as product development plans, customer lists, and financial data, should never be shared online, even on a private account. Details about your workplace, company events, or team outings are generally okay to share, but make sure employees know not to post anything that could compromise the security of your office or facilities. For example, an employee might think it’s harmless to post on Facebook about the new security system you just installed, but that could be all a burglar needs to know to break in.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to prevent your employees from ever sharing anything about your company online. In fact, you should encourage them to share positive news and updates about your company. This is a great way to build goodwill and promote your brand.
Preserve brand identity
Your company’s social media accounts reflect your brand. Having a social media policy in place ensures that all of your social media content is consistent with your brand identity.
For example, if you want your company to be seen as professional and trustworthy, you’ll want to make sure your social media posts are well written and accurate. If you want your company to be seen as fun and friendly, you could opt for light-hearted and engaging social media posts. Including these kinds of details in your social media policy will help ensure that all of your social media content is on brand.
Related reading: Ways to leverage social media for your business
Protect your company’s online reputation
In today’s world, a single bad review or negative social media post can do a lot of damage to your company’s reputation. That’s why it’s important to make sure your social media posts are carefully considered and always professional.
If you do make a mistake, own up to it immediately and take steps to correct it. For example, if you receive a negative review on social media, respond as quickly as possible and offer to make things right.
Employees must also be careful not to post negative things about your company, customers, or competitors on their personal accounts, as it can reflect poorly on your business.
Prevent security breaches
A social media policy can help prevent security breaches by ensuring that employees know not to share confidential company information online. For instance, if an employee posts a photo of their work badge on Instagram, a hacker could use the information in the photo to gain access to your facilities and systems.
By including specific details about what kind of information should not be shared on social media, you can help prevent these kinds of security breaches from happening.
Reduce legal issues
There are a number of laws that govern what companies can and cannot do online. For example, there are laws that prohibit companies from making false or misleading statements on social media. There are also laws that protect employees’ right to privacy.
By creating a robust social media policy, you can make sure your employees are aware of these laws and know not to post anything that could get your company into legal trouble.
Related reading: How does social media usage affect HIPAA compliance?
Implementing a social media policy is just one of the many ways to ensure your company is safe from online threats. If you want to learn more about how to keep your business data safe, contact outsourceIT today. Our specialists can help you create a comprehensive cybersecurity plan that includes social media policies and other security measures.