5 Essentials for Your Social Business Plan to Coexist with Legal and the Law

Social Media liabilityWhether your organization is fully immersed in social, just getting started, or afraid of the legal restrictions associated with social media, there are some simple guidelines to follow that will assist with the process.

1. Policies
If your business doesn’t have a social media policy, signed by every single employee, you are already set up for disaster. This policy should cover not only company use of social platforms, but personal as well. Have you ever thought of the potential damage that an individual could singlehandedly cause for your brand?

“The National Labor Relations Board has rendered over a hundred decisions touching on the topic of employee use of social media, with many of the Board’s actions prompted by overly broad social media policies,” said Glen Gilmore in his article titled 10 Tips for Corporate Social Media Governance.

2. Plan
These days, organizations must plan for the worst and hope for the best. But hope is not going to guide you step by step through solving a social crisis. If KitchenAid had a better grasp on their social campaigns, do you think they could have avoided letting out a tweet about the passing of President Obama’s grandmother go public on their channel? Do you think NASCAR would have immediately taken down a fan’s YouTube video only to have it come back and bite them, had they had proper crisis planning? Having a plan is absolutely crucial.

“If you are a larger organizations, you likely already have crisis communications plans – they need to include social,” Glen Gilmore said in the article referenced earlier.

3. Follow the Rules
“Read the terms of use, privacy statements, guidelines, and FAQ for the platforms in which you have an interest. Discern differences in their treatments of trademarks, copyrights, privacy, and prize promotions. Determine how the platforms’ rules align with your own brand’s legal policies, and examine to what risks a particular platform may expose a brand.” Said Kyle-Beth Hilfer, Essentials of Social Media Law: How to Get Started Legally.

In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission updated its endorsement guidelines to include social media. That was the first update to the document in 30 years. Do you what your rights are as an individual or a company posting to social media sites? You need to.

4. Social Media Training
The most basic beginning to social media training is to start with a Social Media Playbook. “Unlike your social media policy, which establishes the rules and limits of social media engagement, a social media playbook should be more of “how-to” book for your employees, a reference that provides examples of what should and should not be done on social networks.” said Glen Gilmore in 10 Tips for Corporate Social Media Governance.

Create a fairly simple guide for your employees that outlines how to use Social Media for business. Once that has been in place for some time and after an organization’s social accounts are well-established, the next step is formal training. Whether you are training your company’s community managers, management leaders, HR or customer service representative, or the intern, a proper understanding of social business can go a long way in getting that business in the conversation or even avoiding crisis.

5. Social Media Audits
After it’s all said and done, your social media plan must be consistently monitored in order for success. Measure, audit, assess, strategize, update, implement. Glen Gilmore stated, “This doesn’t mean that every tweet has to be a masterpiece, but that online social networking engagement is consistent with the brand and contributing to the building of trust, transparency and brand advocates,” in his article. Regular social media audits will save you time and effort in the long run.

For more information and to learn more, register for the SayItSocial Live Free webinar tomorrow (Thursday, May 2nd, 1:30-2:00pm EST) with Glen Gilmore – “Don’t Let Legan Keep you Out of Social”

About Lauren Formalarie

Lauren Formalarie is a Project Manager and Trainer at SayItSocial, focusing on digital marketing strategy and project development as well as live, virtual and eLearning training initiatives.

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