Today's blog was written by Sally-Anne Kaminski, Manager of Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies Corporation.
As I was enjoying my morning coffee today, I came across an article from Entrepreneur on the importance of companywide social media transparency. The author makes some good points on communication and training:
- Even if your social media account is locked or "private", nothing is truly private on the internet anymore. You can screenshot a post and e-mail it around the world in a matter of minutes.
- Companies could potentially review your personal social media activity when deciding to extend an employment offer. (The same can be said for colleges and universities deciding to extend admission to students.)
- Having guidelines in place for what you expect from your employees when participating in social media is imperative.
That said, I was surprised to find what I consider to be two very important items missing from the advice given in the article.
- Employees who are writing and enforcing your social media policy need education as well... on protected speech. These individuals could be from your HR, Legal or social media teams. While no one wants to see their employees generating social media chatter surrounding working conditions or unequal pay, certain types of conversation around those topics are protected by the National Labor Relations Board. Remember the Chipotle debacle? This is what happened there. (Note: I'm not suggesting that you encourage that type of activity or specifically call it out in your policy. Just saying you should be cognizant of what may be protected speech.)
- You must educate your employees on the FTC Endorsement Guides. Especially in light of the recent warning letters, your employees need to understand that they must disclose their employment relationship when posting about you in social media. It isn't (and shouldn't be, really!) about rules and regulations that your employees begrudgingly follow. It should be part of your culture, where your employees want to talk about how great of a company you are! Check out my post on the Endorsement Guides for more in-depth guidance.
How do you handle employee social media education? Have you seen any well-executed employee disclosures lately? I'm always curious about what other brands are doing. Leave a comment and let me know.
Sally-Anne Kaminski is Manager, Global Social Media Strategy at Zebra Technologies. Thoughts represented in this post are those of the author only and not those of her employer.