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Social media has become so prevalent that many employers use it to engage in daily business, from promoting their products to recruitment. With social media here to stay, each business needs to determine what types of policies they are going to employ, should they allow any social media usage in the office. If you do use social networks to promote your business, managing a social media policy is imperative in guarding your reputation on the Internet. Regardless of which level of social media you intend to use, you will benefit by having a policy in place. Below are some guidelines to follow.

Outline your social media policies to employees. Whether in your company handbook or other communiqué, every incoming employee should be made aware of this policy. Many companies rely on their employees to assist with the promotion of their products online. These employees should have specific guidelines on what they can and cannot say, and having a formulated policy will help. In some cases, you may also want to define responses to common questions that your employees can use when communicating online.

While you want your responses to the public on social platforms to be real – and not canned, you should outline clear policies on what can and cannot be communicated. For instance, if one of your employees is faced with a negative comment, their response should always be on behalf of the company, and not their personal opinion. You do not want personal exchanges reflecting poorly on you as an employer.

Outline to employees what they can and cannot post. While you do not want your guidelines to be so restrictive that your employees fear responding to comments, they should be made aware of what you consider acceptable. The best approach is to designate specific employees to be your social media ambassadors. Assigning an employee to each platform, whether Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or others, helps these employees become more familiar with the types of questions and comments filtering through, and they will be better able to respond.

Outline a policy for employees using their personal social media accounts at work. Just like bad references on a company’s social media platform negatively impacts the company, employees using their own personal networks to gripe or promote grievances about your business can also have the same negative impact. It is important that employees understand that anything they say on their personal accounts will reflect on them professionally. And if they choose to post unsavory information, such as indiscreet photos and other personal details, it can impact their job and employer.

Hold periodic update and training sessions on social media usage. With the ever changing social media climate, employers should update their policies on a frequent basis. Holding refresher sessions will also better help employees remember and understand the policies you have in place.

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