Do you have a social media policy in place for your business? A recent study by Grant Thornton LLP and Financial Executives Research Foundation, Inc. (FERF) has provided a few statistics that might make business owners consider putting a policy in place.
A press release from Grant Thornton LLP finds that “executives of public and private companies see social media as a growing set of marketing tools, but have not yet developed the necessary compliance and risk policies and procedures.”
Why have a policy for social media? According to Thomas Thompson, Jr. of FERF, “Social media cuts across many areas of a company (such as HR, marketing, communications and legal, among others). Therefore any policy surrounding it should be the result of a multidisciplinary approach,” said Thompson.
The release made it clear that social media is not seen as just a flash in the pan by business professionals. It reported that 53% of the senior financial executives who responded see the corporate use of social media increasing significantly over the next year, and 48% feel that social media will be an important component of their future corporate marketing efforts.
What about the social media activity of the employees within your company? Have you established whether or not they can post online on behalf of the company? This is a major part of tracking the brand image of your business.
Recently a California Starbucks employee was fired after a song he wrote and performed making fun of some of his demanding customers went viral. He did not post the video on behalf of Starbucks, but it was still very negative publicity for the company and brand image. Yes, free speech does exist, but posting content online really gives the first amendment a run for its money.
No matter how active your brand or company is on social media, it is imperative to have social media guidelines set in place for safety. That way, when questions arise about rules and regulations, or worse – a crisis – you have prepared answers and a plan of action coordinated ahead of time.
To read the full press release, visit GrantThornton.com/socialmedia.