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  • Rachel Legon

Look Who's Posting...

As a small business owner do you rely on social media platforms to raise your company profile, show case your work and generate new business? Of course, that’s how it works these days!

In the most part social media is our friend, but what happens when you get a negative response to a post, a malicious review, or when a well-intended Tweet goes horribly wrong (some people have no sense of humour, right?).

Do you have people in your team posting on behalf of your business? Are you confident that they’re not going to inadvertently land you in hot water? Do they know what they can and can’t post?

Do you have people posting questionable content on their own profiles? ‘So what?’ you might think. But what if on their profile your company is listed as their employer and suddenly, your brand becomes tainted by their unpopular opinions, controversial views or behaviour which is not in keeping with your values? Awkward.

And just like that you have a social media fire to put out and potentially a misconduct issue with a member of your team who may not even realise they’ve done anything wrong. Why? It could be because common sense wasn’t applied, or because the brain to keyboard filter wasn’t engaged, but if you look a little closer to home… Did you make your expectations clear?

Fear not, here are some simple guidelines to get you started on the road to creating a Social Media policy that works for your business.

Social Media Guidelines

1. Only those approved by you should be posting on behalf of the company, so keep log in details securely and make sure whoever is trusted with them is also aware of your guidelines.

2. Stipulate what content is appropriate e.g. promoting business services, celebrating company success, advertising job vacancies – that’s all great! 😊

3. Stipulate what content isn’t appropriate e.g. jokes which could cause offence (my goodness I’ve seen some Corona Virus clangers this week), anything which contains personal information (unless consent is given by the individual) e.g. announcing employee birthdays, promotions, sharing political opinions, sharing commercially sensitive information, making derogatory comments…

4. Be clear who should respond to contentious comments, and how. Remember, keep it professional, people like nothing more than watching a Twitter row unfurl before their very eyes, but when it’s your brand that’s in the firing line, keep it clean. A bad review is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate fantastic customer service.

5. Be clear that if employee’s personal accounts show a clear link to you as their employer, they need to adhere to these guidelines and remember that with every post they are representing your business. If their accounts do not detail you as their employer, they are still responsible for any posts which may bring the business into disrepute.

6. Be mindful of bullying, harassment and discrimination. It all starts out as banter, but social media posts may be used to the advantage or detriment of the business if any issues of this nature arise. This includes posts made on private accounts.

7. Make it clear that disciplinary action could result from any misuse of social media or disregard of the guidelines. You don’t want to sound like a bore, but trust me, if someone drops a social media clanger you need to be able to demonstrate that they knew both the expectations and the consequences.

8. Include your Social Media Policy in your Employee Handbook, if you have one, make sure it is communicated and accessible to all.

Social media should be fun, so take a couple of steps to make your expectations clear and get back to creating a positive social media presence which will help drive your business forward.

In the meantime, check out this link to 35 Social Media fails **cringe** 😉

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