Before Getting Employees on the Social Media Train

Train PlatformSocial Media Examiner recently published a post on employees and social media.  While “How to Include All Employees in Your Social Media Marketing” has a lot of great ideas, it skips a lot of preliminary steps.

The post begins by promising readers will “Discover how to involve your entire staff in your social media marketing,” and provides “some tips for getting everyone onboard the social marketing train.”

While I’ve worked primarily in web software development, website management, and web marketing, I earned my degree in Human Resources Management.  I’ve helped with HR compliance and recruiting at several of the startups I’ve worked with.  And I helped several clients – including a law firm develop employee social media policies.

There is a WHOLE lot of groundwork that needs to be laid before implementing any social media plans that include employees. For example, not backing up and archiving your Slack conversations could turn costly in the event of a lawsuit. And if you’re in Oregon, it’s illegal to require your employees to use social media accounts on your behalf. Few employers realize that if  your employees trash you instead of praise you in social media, they may be protected by the National Labor Relations Board.

Before implementing any employee participation in social media advertising, its essential to not only have a solid social media policy in place. It needs to be reviewed by legal counsel that understands the drastic changes these new tools can bring to the workplace.

Hootsuite is one of the companies held up in the post as an example of employee involvement.  Not included is Hootsuite’s summary of workplace social media policy best practices:

As businesses move toward less rigid structures and more casual workplace cultures, the line between personal and professional conduct becomes more blurred by the day. While there are countless benefits to a work environment where your employees are able to be themselves—a 53 percent increase in team morale and a 20 percent increase in performance according to the National Workplace Flexibility Study—having certain boundaries in place is a good idea for any organization.

There are dangers to your business from a poor social media plans.  According to  “5 Ways Social Media Can Land Employers In Court,” this could include:

  1. Firing employees for social media posts.
  2. Using social media in the hiring process.
  3. Employees posting inappropriate content on company platforms.
  4. Befriending and following employees and triggering discrimination claims.
  5. Failing to preserve evidence by deleting social posts.

So before that social media train leaves the station, make sure you have an attorney check everything over or you could end up flying off the tracks.

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