Social Media Etiquette For Employees: Where to Start?

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Daniel Ku

“Can we just not encourage social media posts by employees?”

Social media etiquette for employees can be an intimidating subject. Can you feel safe unleashing your employees on social media with a hashtag associating them with your entire business? Can anything from social media actually convert, or is it a good use of our time? Should we even try?

The short answer is yes.

The slightly longer answer is yes and encouraging employee advocacy on social media can have big benefits.

Having a social media presence that attracts interest and builds a strong brand presence is increasingly essential to maintaining momentum in marketing.

Are you tapping into the value of social media?

Like it or not, your employees are in all likelihood spending a fair amount of their time on social media. More than two hours a day, to be exact. This is a space where you can authentically engage employees and their networks if you are thoughtful with your social media rules for employees.

Whether your employees are actively reaching out to potential customers, maintaining and strengthening their client relationships or just showing the world that they’re passionate about their workplace, they are building value for your company.

Employees are afraid to share, how can you get everyone on the same page?

You can get a lot of value when your employees are actively involved in social media but you’ll need some parameters to keep your brand to remain consistent.

These are our suggestions for getting started with social media etiquette for employees.

Codify Etiquette With a Company Social Media Policy

Every company should have a social media policy.

Social media policy for employees should be a prominent piece of your onboarding material. Having an on-brand, professional presence online is as much a part of workplace etiquette as having credentials for company software. Get everyone on the same page from day one. Make sure your social media policy is brief, potent and clear.

Your concise, clear, and thoroughly communicated social media policy is your first line of defense.

An effective social media policy should cover:

  • Who: Include a concise summary of your company’s culture and how they might personally relate to it. What kind of company are we? A file of images made available to all employees might be appropriate for this purpose as well as some example posts.
  • What: Include what not to post and what to post. Include the perks of engaging, consistent posting and how inappropriate behavior will be addressed.
  • When: Best practice for how often employees should post, and what time of day is most productive for different posting purposes.
  • Why: Briefly cover why presence and behavior on social media is important to your company.

Here is a more thorough social media policy checklist.

Here are some of our suggestions for the etiquette to include in any social media policy.

Align personal and professional accounts

What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet. So, be careful to clarify with employees that they represent you and what you stand for no matter the social media platform they are using. Self-expression on Facebook and LinkedIn profiles are certainly going to differ, but no matter the platform, employees should be conscious of creating an on-brand personality that is authentic and ethical.

If employees share information about your company or branded content, it is best practice for them to disclose their employee affiliation and that their personal opinions are their own.

This doesn’t mean there is no room for personal expression because that is what gives an employee’s profile authenticity. It simply means that employees should proceed with common sense. Their responsibility is to protect the company, follow relevant regulations and disclose their role with the company.

Be specific in what not to post

Typically, you can get explicit in your social media policy on what not to post. The policy should go from etiquette to hard and fast rule for anything:

  • Political
  • Abrasive
  • Religious
  • Legal
  • From suspicious sources

Of course, there are nuances here so don’t be so afraid of offending that you can’t reference important cultural (or even personal) experiences.

Above all, remind employees of the Golden Rule. Don’t lecture anyone from your keyboard. No one likes being lectured, even face-to-face. You aren’t going to change anyone’s mind with an abrasive or explosive post.

Remember the positive

Now that your employees understand the social media policy, they have put some thought into online branding and are clear on what not to post, they’re ready to start posting. So what do they post?

Instead of just leaving employees to it, make positive suggestions for how your team can engage their connections on social media. It could be as simple as sharing a company post or as personal as telling a story of a customer interaction.

Depending on your audience, employee posts should either be personally relatable (here’s my experience working at this company!) or informative (here’s some data our team’s uncovered!)

As a manager, you can encourage:

  • Connection: Whether it’s through bonding at a conference or sending a LinkedIn InMail message, all your employees can be a great way to expand a network.
  • Conversation: Social media posts don’t have to go out into the ether. Encourage comments on other organizations’ posts.
  • Personality: Have fun with it! People love to see teams working together.
  • Quality Information: Provide original thought and specialized, properly sourced information.

Create content employees can share

Companies that have engaged employees perform better. Make sure that your employees have access to pre-approved content when you are creating a content library. This ensures that employees have access to the same resources, information and insights. It also helps your brand voice stay consistent with your intended audience.

Having a library of content keeps employees across departments on the same page. Here’s a printable one-page cheat sheet on how to craft those perfect posts. Now, just keep everyone posting and watch your engagement rise!

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