Social Media

Why Your Social Media Policy May Backfire

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Since many businesses are taking the plunge and diving into social media, most of them are also employing a social media policy to keep employees on the same page with the purpose and goal of the company’s social campaign.

Social media policies contain a great deal of information. They discuss the purpose of the campaign, the strategy (which networks are utilized, what they plan to post, who the target audience is, etc.), who is responsible for the campaign, social media crisis procedures and even what employees can and cannot do on social media sites.

While a social media policy is a great way to stay organized and keep everyone on the same page, they’re not perfect. In fact, most companies will find that their social media policy will backfire, and here’s why.

You can’t regulate your employees’ personal accounts.
Some employers think that they can tell their employees how to act on their own personal social media accounts, but the truth is, they can’t. If an employee has a social media account that belongs to them and not the company, their employer cannot regulate what they can and cannot post. So if an employee wants to post political rantings, they can, and there’s nothing the company can do about it. The only controls that employers can have is over their accounts, so while they can’t tell employees how to act on personal accounts, they can regulate what is said on their own.

It makes the process time consuming.
If one certain individual needs to approve a comment or post that is placed on the company’s social media account by an employee, it takes away from the realness of social media. People use these channels to share ideas and information, and if every post is regulated, it will create added responsibilities for the person in charge of the account, making it more time consuming.

You can’t keep your employees from expressing their personal feelings.
The National Labor Relations Act was instituted to protect employees. If your employee wants to use their personal account to tell the world what it’s like to work for your company—whether good or bad—they can. If you try to tell your employees otherwise, they can sue you.

You may be breaking the law.
Some companies go a little too far when it comes to ensuring that employees aren’t misusing social media while at work. These employers may try to go onto their employees social media pages to see what they’re saying, but if the company and the employee are not following each other, and the employee has their account set to private, it may be impossible. So some companies have gone onto employees’ computers and accessed the sites this way if the employee had their password stored. This is a HUGE violation of privacy, and it’s punishable by law in all 50 states.

You don’t have as many rights as you think.
Some employers think that they can fire an employee based on something they find on social media sites, but this is often not true. As long as the employee is not sharing confidential company information or directly affect the reputation of the company, an employer cannot fire an employee just because they don’t like their status update or their recent cover photo.

Though it is a great idea to have a social media plan for your business, it’s very important that you truly understand the rights that you have as an employer. If you try and enforce certain conduct by your employees, you could be breaking the law. So before you create a social media policy with intricate detail, check to make sure that you have the right to do so.

This article was written by Jessica Brown in tandem with SEOMap.  Visit SEOMap to read more valuable information pertaining to social media, SEO, and marketing.

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