In an era of social media, any organization has to remain extremely careful in establishing policies that govern how their employees relay information about the company on such platforms. The marketing power of social media has grown enormously over the years and will continue to grow as we steadily contribute to our own digital footprint.
The worst part is you never know what can irk your customer and can trigger a tsunami of negative publicity. In the recent years, big brands have suffered a lot on social media for their questionable advertisement campaigns and insensitive tweets. The later has opened the gates for many Public Relations strategists to come in and save the waves.
Now, apart from business customers, employees are also posting negative comments on social media. If that particular post becomes viral, it is likely to draw the attention of your competitors, stakeholders, business partners, and your customers. In this respect, below are 3 simple steps that organizations can take to manage such occurrences.
Dealing with negative publicity is difficult. Today, when most people have an active social profile and a large friend circle, it is a mistake to assume that they will share nothing about their professional life. Sometimes, a single post or tweet that causes negative publicity is nothing but a raw outburst of emotions by the employee. The post may be deleted later, but the damage will have taken place.
Instead of reacting after the fact, having a written policy so that your employees can be well aware what they can post or comment on is imperative. A sound social media policy, should define the kind of language acceptable for employees to use, and which types of comments are viable on social media, while they are a part of the organization. More than simply having a written social media policy, it is equally important to ensure strict implementation of the same within your organization.
It is extremely important for managers and employees to understand how their comments on social media reflects on the organization. Organizational leaders, along with the management teams are to champion such process. Opting to train everyone on the company policies, and expectations on social media behavior, either while at work or off the clock is a great starting point. The sessions should cover topics such as the effects of gossiping, sharing sensitive information, defamation of character, and proprietary information. Sometimes, a single photo, tweet, emotional outburst, or comment triggers a series of events, not only affecting the organization’s reputation, but lowering morale and posing potential legal liability. Confirm that managers and employees have a clear understanding of the company’s social media policy and the role they play in its successful implementation.
A very easy and common avenue taken by employers is that of instilling fear in employees through false menaces in their written policies. Some opt to react based on emotions and fire the employee(s) on the basis of the public media publicity created in an effort to be relive from potential liability from those actions. However, your organization should differ. There is no substitute for starting with a legally sound and transparent policy when it comes to social media.
Organizations should understand the legal implications surrounding social media policies in the workplace; all of which vary by state. As such, organizations operating in different states and of course internationally are responsible for complying with the applicable regulations. Engage everyone – Discover why employees are posting and sharing negative comments related to your business. Terminating employees over social media violations undoubtedly send a loud message to others. Nonetheless, it does not offer a solution and may very well place the organization at risk for other legal liabilities, depending on the nature of the violation. It is absurd for organizations to expect to monitor the social media profiles of all employees. Instilling fear however, is not the answer.
It’s essential for organizations to understand that negative publicity, especially across social media platforms is inevitable. In addition to complying with the regulations and agencies that govern employer-employee risks in regards to social media; organizations are urged to allocate as much energy and resources toward building a solid relationship with their employees. This should exceed, or at a minimum equal to the importance given to building lasting customer relationships. Engage managers to make employees your brand ambassador and treat them well. With excellent employee relations, organizations will drastically reduce negative social media publicity due to employees.
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