The power a social media policy plugs into your brand

The power a social media policy plugs into your brand

We are living in a Digital Era. In 2018, the internet is arguably the single most influential factor of our culture — transforming the way we view communication, relationships, and even ourselves. Social media platforms have evolved to symbolize the status of both individuals and businesses alike. These platforms have also become the preferred vertical for advertising. 

Today, using social media to create brand awareness, drive revenue, engage current customers, and attract new ones isn't optional anymore. Now it is an absolute "must." Likewise, any business that's active on social media understands the importance of communicating with their audiences "where they are." These channels offer a variety of ways to promote a business's brand and messaging to those who are relevant to the specific restaurant concept, along with those who are interested in it. 

It's not surprising then that Pew Research Center found that 68 percent of American adults are now not only on Facebook as users, but are "on it" daily. Likewise, while workplace use of social media is now commonplace, the way it is used has evolved in recent years. 

Outside any employee's specific job functions, the internal use of social media within a business environment has grown and become the subject of an ever-evolving debate. Productivity, Human Resources-related risks and specific legal mandates about what can and cannot communicated online are primary reasons for either censoring or limiting access to social media during normal business hours.

Still, many argue that such "censorship" or social media use monitoring does little to enhance employee trust and engagement. Beyond that, many companies want to figure out ways to harness the power of social media and employee engagement, often moving this topic to the forefront of conversations around employee use of social media.

That's why — depending on your organization's objectives and culture — a clearly defined social media policy makes the brand's expectations around social media use by employees clear and potentially more useful and impactful.  In essence, it takes much of the guesswork out of the equation for employees and leadership alike. 

"Your employees are an extension of the brand and their actions online can be a direct reflection of the brand. Define those expectations to protect your brand and its reputation."

A formalized social media policy outlines how an organization and its employees should handle themselves online. It can help safeguard your brand's reputation while also encouraging employees to responsibly share your company's message. 

Creating conversation around social media use, as it pertains to work life, will also help your team better understand the organization's expectations of its use on company time. A clearly defined policy can help mitigate risks associated with social media use and educate employees on how to best use all forms of social media within the business setting. 

Benefits of a corporate social media policy 

Brand reputation 
A social media policy communicates expectations of how the company's name and brand should be represented within a social media setting. The policy allows for an opportunity to voice how best to represent your company, including what is and isn't appropriate to share online from employees. Your employees are an extension of the brand and their actions online can be a direct reflection of the brand. Define those expectations to protect your brand and its reputation. 

Security and legal risks 
These policies can help safeguard your organization from potential legal problems associated with social media use, and give employees  steps on how to avoid such problems. Your company's social media policy should explain what an employee should do if they were to inadvertently put the company's reputation at risk or come under a malicious viral attack. 

Employees may not be aware of how their actions online may compromise company security. Help to educate them on how a simple click on a downloaded application can potentially result in a virus infection on their computer and network. 

Empowering employees
An organization's team is its greatest asset. Empower those within your team to be responsible champions of the brand. You can build employees' confidence in doing just that by clearly defining company guidelines and expectations around social media use. 

Customer satisfaction
These types of best practices in the day-to-day execution of your social media endeavors and around your social media platforms ultimately lead to higher customer satisfaction that highlights all the positive aspects of your brand. Each customer interaction via your social media platforms gives your business the opportunity to publicly demonstrate how considerate you are as a corporate citizen, while heightening customers' abilities to relate to the brand. 

The Digital Age — like the numerous social media and digital technologies that are a part of it — will only continue to evolve and change as time moves on. That's why it is essential to your competitive viability to be sure you regularly review your company's stance and policies around these platforms and their usage by employees. Then all that's left to do is "post" away.

As a digital marketing leader with a background in SEO, analytic and social marketing, Kelly Jensen helps grow PAR Technology's traffic and conversions from through its marketing initiatives. She was instrumental in establishing a PAR blog, social presence and optimizing its website. Jensen is focused on strengthening the connection between physical and digital worlds, a key part of the brand experience. 

Photo: iStock

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Crime, Customer Service / Experience, Human Resources, Online / Mobile / Social, Operations Management

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