Chances are your employees already talk about your brand online. In fact, a study from Weber Shandwick reports that 50% of your employees are already using social media to talk about their workplace.
This could be equally thrilling and worrying for most brand managers. Those at regulated companies would feel more of the latter than the former, and that’s quite understandable given that it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to follow the company tonality and core values while on “off-work” time.
As much good as one can achieve by employees sharing brand content, there’s always a chance of damage too. And while no one’s going to complain about the extra exposure, the need for company guidelines when it comes to social media use is absolutely imperative.
If you’ve recently agreed on opening up the world of social media to your employees and are wondering where to start in drafting the guidelines for social media use, don’t worry; we got you covered.
Here are 11 aspects you need to factor into your employee social media guide:
1. Explain the need for guidelines
You’ve taken the step to welcoming the use of social media in the workplace, but employees need to be made aware that it needs to be used as a business tool to promote the brand. An explanation or a backstory of how and why you’ve chosen to implement a social media strategy will give your employees a deeper insight into the plan ahead and the urgency to follow the guidelines.
2. Showcase the human, not the logo
The thing that makes social media so great, especially the concept of employees as brand advocates, is the authenticity factor. Unless you’re actively managing the company’s social media handles, content that is shared should (ideally) have a personal touch. Something that resonates with your employees will in all likelihood resonate with their personal networks too. Make sure your employees know that.
3. Keep it uniform with an official hashtag
Using an official hashtag is a great way to track the success of your employees’ effect on social media. Big brands like L’Oreal (#LifeAtLoreal) and Reebok (#FitAssCompany) were able to capitalize on this all while maintaining the authenticity of their employees’ postings.
4. Keep it real
Employees need to be made aware of the legal ramifications of their social media posts. Yes, to them, you may be the best in class service or product out there, but are you really? Make sure your guidelines specify that employees need to refrain from making tall claims when using the company handles, as they could otherwise be misconstrued as false marketing or advertising.
5. Filter, filter, and filter again
Your employees need to realize that as long as they’re on social media, they are the face of the brand. Reiterate your company mission, vision, and core values. This will help your employees align their thoughts with the larger goals and objectives of the organization.
6. Quality over quantity
Churning out content for the sake of sharing content is not a win-win by any means or standard. Your social media guidelines should encourage employees to share thoughts, ideas, and experiences that will not only add value to the company brand but to their personal brands too.
7. Don’t let the cat out of the bag
Employees need to be mindful of sensitive information when it comes to sharing information online. Sharing product release deadlines and inside information could be detrimental to some organizations. While specifically noting the urgency of this in the guidelines, the use of an official employee advocacy platform can minimize the risk.
8. Damage control
Trolling has become an online sport of Olympic proportions. So what happens when an employees come across such trolls? To engage, leave alone, or direct to the corporate communications team – your company’s social media guidelines need to clearly outline what they need to do.
9. Avoid conflict
You’re not going to yell at someone who walks into your office just because he has an opposing opinion. Similarly, passionate employees are more likely that they may take any backlash to the brand personally and fight back (figuratively speaking). Guidelines need to specify that such online fist-fights should be avoided at all costs, and should have next steps outlined for employees to direct the concerns to the right persons/departments.
10. Made an error? Own it
Even with the guidelines in place, you need to make room for the possibility of errors occurring. Especially in large companies, this has to be a given. Employees should feel comfortable in owning up to any mistakes and knowing the next steps too. Appointing an administrator for such tasks is usually the best course here.
11. Be mindful of the time consumed
Lastly, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Social media can be very time consuming, and your employees need to know that while active participation in sharing brand content is appreciated, it comes secondary to their day job.