Whether it’s inflammatory political posts and racy vacation photos on a personal wall, confrontations on business social media accounts or another form of online strife, social media clashes are a fact of internet life. Hardly a day goes by without reading about a business that has gotten in hot water online. But, you can keep social media scandals from becoming a problem at your organization by laying down some guidelines and preparing in advance.

1. Don’t push social media duties onto low level employees.

girl-with-a-pinwheel-1395989-mThere’s still a tendency in many companies to minimize the importance of social media. Often, social media is a job assigned to entry level employees or even to interns. But, your social media accounts are your business’s public face. Entrust them to savvy and level-headed people so that tensions can be dissolved and missteps avoided.

2. Have a clear social media policy.

Spell out expectations for behavior on social media. Have firm policies in place about using personal equipment for professional social media posts and vice versa. By making sure that everyone understands what you expect, you can avoid culture clashes and inappropriate posts.

3. Counsel employees on social media safety.

chains-993898-mDespite the wide adoption of social media, many people are still not up to speed on social media safety and etiquette. Many accounts are vulnerable to hacking. In other cases, people are not aware that what they share privately can be screen-capped and shared more publicly. Have workshops on social media privacy to help avoid embarrassing photos or posts from becoming connected with your company. Talk about how social media posts can live on far longer than people might like and how people should be careful what they post even on personal accounts.

4. Keep an ear to the ground.

Use social listening to find out what people inside and outside your company are saying about your brand. This way, if there is a controversy or an unhappy customer, you can respond quickly and make the situation a social media win instead of a social media gaffe. Social listening can also be effective when you are planning a promotion. By seeing what people are talking about and how they react to different news stories and brand promotions, you can increase your chances of a social promotion going well.

In the digital age, the lines between the public and private spheres can be blurred. And sometimes, this can lead to clashes between individual and company social presences and the company culture. But, by setting expectations, keeping up with best practices and addressing issues as they occur, you can bring your company culture and social presence together. By helping them align, you get happier employees and a stronger brand online.

Lara Stewart

Lara is a freelance writer and marketer who focuses on digital marketing, personal finance, health and wellness and entertainment. Hire her to write blog posts, articles, ebooks and white papers through her website, The Small Business Blogger.


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