Social Media Corporate Policies: How to Keep Your Job
Have you read your employer’s Social Media Corporate Policy? Designed to protect both employer and employees, a Social Media Corporate Policy contains guidelines about how you should and should not use social media as an employee. If you use social media for any work-related communications, breaching your employer’s policy could cost you your job.
The Social Media Distraction
Despite the obvious sales, marketing and recruitment benefits to the company, employers remain concerned that social media sites will distract employees during work hours. Overuse of personal social media at work results in lower employee productivity and increased costs to the company. To avoid losing your job, save your personal tweets, posts and status updates for after hours. Refrain from using your employer’s computers or mobile phones to login to your personal social media accounts.
Don’t Mix Business with Pleasure
In social media, most people’s business and personal identities intersect. This can happen when you add work colleagues to your list of Facebook friends, or when you add the name of your employer to any personal profile. Remember this when you post comments to your personal network. Your colleagues, supervisors or customers may possibly access your posts, even if you intended your comments for friends. Avoid the following, even on your personal channel:
- Inadvertently revealing company secrets or leaking confidential information: “I’m so excited about the new deal with XYZ.”
- Identifying internal problems within your company: “Everyone hates our new uniforms.”
- Posting negative or defamatory comments about other people, even if you don’t identify them by name: “The woman that sits next to me is so annoying. Rumour is, she’s having an affair with the boss.”
Even Positive Comments Can Cause Trouble
Unless you’re authorized to post on behalf of your company, refrain from discussing your employer online. Even with the best intentions, your comments may be incorrect or misconstrued.
- Avoid defending your company when other people make negative comments: “My company’s products are the best in the world. You’ll never find anything better.”
- Avoid comments that may mislead your company’s customers: “All of our customers are losing weight with this product. It’s amazing!”
- Unless you are authorized as a social media representative, avoid commenting in the name of your employer: “All of the team at XYZ Company apologise for the inconvenience.”
There is No “Undo” Button
When companies adopt social media, they accept a high level of risk. As an employee, any misleading or inaccurate comments you make can get your company into legal trouble. To avoid such a dilemma, think carefully before you tweet, post or update your status. Remember, there is no “undo” button and hundreds of people may see your status within seconds of your update. By the time you realise there is a problem and delete your comments, the damage has already been done.
Honour Social Media Corporate Policies with Your Email Address
An important step towards honouring your company’s Social Media Policy is to detach your personal accounts from your work email address. For example, if you’ve signed up with Facebook using your work email address, your Facebook notifications will be delivered to your work address. This may result in your personal communications and photos being stored on workplace computers. Additionally, if you lose your job and your email account is deactivated or redirected, your personal information may be read by other people. Do yourself and your employer a favour; manage your personal accounts with your personal email address.
Example of a 'real' corporate social media policy
The Department of Justice in Victoria has a great social media policy and have made it available for us to share. Have a look at this short, fun YouTube video to get an idea what you sort of behaviour an employer may expect from you.
Visit our Careers Resources section for articles related to your job search.