Although approximately 52% of the Australian population use social media, not everyone understands how online presence, both individual and work-related, reflects on a business. Your staff are representatives of your business meaning their online profiles can unintentionally affect your brand’s image and influence potential customers. While this isn’t always a bad thing, enforcing a social media policy and educating your staff on the importance of your business’ online presence can help to avoid mistakes and better prepare for issues that may arise.
For best results, don’t give full access to social media accounts to everyone, too many employees logging on and changing things can lead to misuse. Instead, define team member roles and accessibility when you first employ a social media strategy to help create workable boundaries. By delegating regular tasks to particular employees, like content posting or customer service, helps to create a routine that everyone can follow and accountability if there is an issue. This also establishes who is allowed to speak on behalf of the company.
Have an action plan in place for different scenarios, such as security breaches or PR issues, and make sure everyone is aware of the procedures. In a crisis management plan, you should include an up-to-date emergency contact list with specific roles of the social media team as well as your legal and PR experts. Guidelines for identifying a crisis, communication plans and an approved process for response will also help. By having a plan in place, you are properly equipping your staff to handle problems in the correct manner and as quickly as possible.
Your employees’ online network can be a blessing and a curse to your business. To avoid reputational damage make sure your staff is aware that any inappropriate or harmful mentions of your business will be met with professional consequences. You should educate your staff on what constitutes unprofessional online conduct. Some examples include:
- Any rants bad-mouthing customers or management.
- Pictures of management or co-workers that are put up without consent or reflect poorly on the business.
- Proof of pretending to be sick to avoid work.
- Defamatory comments about your business or workplace.
Instead, try encouraging your staff to highlight the positive aspects of work such as your office environment, special offers or workplace achievements. Make sure they tag your business whether it be on LinkedIn or Facebook.