New Policies to think about
Inspired by a recent talk at a Social Media Conference, I've been considering the importance for businesses and companies, to put together some policies to protect you in this new digital age, but also to serve as guidelines for employees.
A cell phone policy for example will outline the "culture" and appropriate use of cell phones in the business. Are we a "answer the call every time no matter what" company or do we want phones to be left on silent and out of sight during meetings. Make it clear what your expectations are.
On social media, do you want your employees to be vocal all the time about your amazing new product, posting live footage from the office playing basketball during lunch breaks? And can they go as far as being disruptive and interrogatory online with discussions around what you do or sell. This might be ok for a start up trying to get noticed. But would be suicide for an established business that has a specific reputation and set of values to uphold. State the type of behaviour that you will not tolerate (whether in their personal or business capacity - because ultimately what they do on social media in their personal capacity, WILL reflect on your business). Make it clear that you want employees to refrain from hate speech, racism and bigotry. Not only so that if they do, you can dismiss them immediately and protect your reputation, but so that you provide a clear guideline on what you stand for. This is especially important for any employee or agency managing your communications. There are too many examples of how businesses got it wrong because of an employee or agencies failure to manage an online crisis appropriately. You certainly can't prevent a disaster completely, that's the danger of the digital space, but you can put steps and policies in place that prevent something going wrong. And if they do go wrong, at least you have a signed policy to fall back on to manage the reputation crisis better. Presumption is dangerous. Don't presume that people know what you expect of them. Especially online!
Here is a great resource to guide you into creating a good Social Media Policy for your business: