The media is buzzing about presidential candidates, and it is only revving up as the Iowa caucuses—the first to be held in the country each year—draw near on February 1st. Following closely on Iowa’s heels will be New Hampshire with their primaries and then several more states with a rush of events. Plenty of opportunities will present themselves for everyone to voice their personal opinions on each of the political parties and candidates. Is your company’s social media policy ready to handle the rant that your employee goes on about their hate of someone’s platform? Now is the time to comb over each line to make sure the company’s image is upheld.
Employees’ use of social media has been a hot button topic for several years now as the popularity of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others has grown exponentially. Some companies have a strict no-personal-use policy in regards to social outlets while employees are using company property or are on the clock while others encourage their employees to be active—but act responsibly—on social media.
No matter what the company’s policy may be, there seems to be a common thread linking all circumstances: when an employee posts something to any social media outlet, on or off the clock, they should either make no references to the company in any capacity, or if they do, make it known that the post is strictly their own personal view and has no connection to how the company regards a topic. Large companies including Best Buy, Hewlett Packard, and Adidas all make this abundantly clear in their respective social media policies.
Employees should also be encouraged to exercise good judgment in what they post, whether it be company related or personal. Don’t post anything that could be construed as racist or defamatory. Make sure your employees understand that they will be held responsible if they violate your policy for what they post on social media outlets. Additionally, even though it should go without saying, include in your policy that no proprietary or confidential information is allowed to be posted.
If a company puts solid effort towards constructing their social media policy, they may even be able to shape their employees into loyal brand ambassadors. Include rules that guide them into good habits and stress the importance of upholding the image of the company. Remember, that tweet that they post comparing Donald Trump’s choice of hairstyle to Hilary Clinton’s foreign policy could come back to bite, so be sure to get your policy in order before you head out to the caucus.