Social Media Do's and Don'ts

Employees are an essential piece to effective employee advocacy. Teach them the do’s and don’ts of posting professional on social media.



According to Social Media Today, the average person is spending nearly two hours a day on social media. As the work-life divide blurs so does social media. 98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% post about their company.

Whether businesses like it or not, we post about our lives on social media. We also turn to social media for news and information. In order for brands to stay competitive and continue to grow their share of voice on social media, they need to incorporate their employees. Why? Because leveraging employees’ networks extend a brand’s reach exponentially. It also creates brands that seem more authentic and the kind customers want to do business with.

While these benefits can be a game changer, making sure employees understand both the pros and potential cons of their social media posts can go a long way toward mitigating potential snafus. It is now up to organizations to educate their staff on what is and isn’t considered brand appropriate.


Employer’s Responsibility

Every organization is unique in what information they share and the way they choose to communicate it. Some industries have a lot more leeway and freedom, while others are held to regulations such as HIPAA and FINRA.

Unless the employee is a member of the legal department, they most likely won’t be aware of exactly what these regulations entail in regards to social sharing. It is up to the employer to clearly state what is prohibited in an easy-to-follow jargon-free way.

Even in less regulated industries, organizations need to clearly define how they want their brand to be communicated with the public. What is considered on-brand? What topics are great shares? This is up to the employer to define and disseminate to its employees.


Provide Guidelines

When it comes to social media guidelines, the clearer the better. Employees should be able to easily understand the kinds of content and ways they can share on social media. Creating and sharing company social media guidelines are essential for removing any ambiguity on what is and isn’t acceptable. Guidelines should spell out what is expected from them on social media both from a business and personal code of conduct aspect.

For example, clearly list out which employees can and cannot represent the brand online. In addition, the types of content that are ok to share (company articles, press releases, industry news) and those that aren’t (showcases competitors, politically charged, uses curse words). It is also important to share the company vision for social advocacy. What is the organization trying to achieve through its social sharing? This will shape the kinds of content, posts and comments employees share with their networks.


Make It Easy

Everyone is different, so are their skill sets and comfort levels with social media. One thing all employees need, however, is simplified social sharing. Hosting social media training sessions and creating one-pagers can all go a long way in bringing everyone up to speed.

Another way to simplify the process is to use a platform like PostBeyond. Administrators of the platform will approve all content and add it to a searchable library for employees to schedule or share with a few clicks. This not only simplifies the sharing process, but it also lessens fears of sharing the wrong content.


Showcase Benefits

Psychology has shown time and after time positive reinforcement works. If you want employees to adopt a certain behavior, you need to show them why social sharing will ultimately be a benefit for them:

  • Build their own personal network
  • Become an industry thought leader
  • Create more conversations with potential customers
  • Receive referral bonuses for sharing job postings
  • Get a more holistic view of company happenings
  • More transparency among departments


Reward Positive Behaviors

In the same vein, organizations should also encourage employees by rewarding behaviors they want to continue seeing. Easy ways to do this are by running contests that reward the behaviors you’re looking for (most improved, the employee with the most shares, etc.) Prizes don’t always have to be monetary in value either. Many organizations have created prizes such as a championship sharing belt (what we do here at PostBeyond), working from the CEO’s desk for a day, extra vacation day, etc. A little creativity can go along way towards getting employees fired up to share.

Here are the social media do’s and don’ts you can share with your employees:


Social Media Do’s



Before posting anything, sit back and reread it. There is nothing that will destroy credibility faster than a post littered with spelling and grammar errors.


The Interview Rule

An easy way for employees to gauge if a share or social interaction is appropriate is to think would I share/say that to a prospective employer during an interview. There’s an old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Keep posts professional and above all polite. This is especially important for Millennials, who have a more fluid relationship with social media and tend to overshare thoughts and feelings.

For Boomers, this works in reverse; they tend to be overly guarded, professional and lose sight of the fact social networking is to network. Sharing behind-the-scenes company culture and personal achievements showcases personality and makes your social media profile appear more real.


Platform Preferences

It is important to know what to post on which social network. There are vast differences in tone, length and type of content for each social medium. Learn the differences to best optimize posting efforts. Here is a handy one-page guide on what to post, where.


80/20 Content Mix

This is the ideal content mix. Eight percent of posted content should contain information that is value-add to your network or authentically of interest. Think industry news, charities you support, courses or events attended. The other 20% should be sharing information about the company. Employer branding content, job posts or sales offers. Remember this is a social network after all and it should focus on building and nurturing connections just as much as, if not more than, promoting a company’s brand.


Include Visuals

Social media posts with images or visual elements attached (infographics, videos) outperform those that don’t. According to HubSpot, “Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images.” If content doesn’t have a visual attached, royalty free images can be found on sites like Unsplash or Pexels. Just be sure they adhere to company guidelines.


Social Media Don’ts


Inflammatory Content

The internet is forever. One asinine tweet can come back to bite you. Same goes for liking and retweeting offensive jokes. When content covers political or controversial subject matter it’s best to steer clear. Social networking and the comments made there are permanent; save controversial topics for offline discussion among trusted individuals.


Tone Deaf Trendjacking

Even companies have been guilty of this. Sears’ newsjacked the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to advertise their inventory of generators. As tempting as it might be to jump on a trend, sit back and make sure what you’re posting about does not lessen a tragedy or add fuel to a controversial fire. Bottom line, only comment and post about issues when you are well-informed about and contribute to your online networks.


Overlooking Images

Including images is a social media do, but there is a caveat. Just like possible content snafus, images can land employees in hot water. UGC (user generated content) is great, just make sure to check images for possible offenses. Someone’s political t-shirt, a whiteboard with a secret product launch in background … there is a reason why they say a picture is worth a hundred words. Images should receive the same careful screening as the text when posting online.


Misleading Posts (aka Clickbait)

Just like in the real world professional reputations can be tarnished by gossip and exaggerations. If you are going to post, make sure to use reputable sources and fact check first. At the end of the day, anything posted from your social account gets attached to your reputation so a little extra due diligence can go along way.

Posting on social media is great for both companies and employees, but it’s not without some potential risks. The easiest way to gain all the positives and avoid the negatives is to always be thoughtful and follow your company social media guidelines and policies.


Get your employee advocacy started off on the right foot. Download PostBeyond guidelines for social media policies and print out our one-page social media cheat sheet for employees.






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