Why Your Company Needs A Social Media Usage Policy
With more and more of us publishing content on The SAP Community Network, Twitter, Personal Blogs and various other parts of The Web it is important for organisations to have a Social Media Usage Policy in place for a number of reasons. The idea for this blog came as a result of a recent blog I posted on SCN. The content was in no way derogatory or negative towards SAP but I was questioning some of SAP’s marketing & communication strategies and how these could be perceived by end users.
It was pointed out to me that, as an employee of an SAP Partner, I should not be questioning SAP but be openly supporting and promoting their products and strategies (which I do 99% of the time) and on this occasion I removed part of the Blog in question.
This got me thinking over the weekend, could I face disciplinary action from my employer? Had I broken any rules / guidelines? The answer to both those questions is No. As a company we do not (yet) have a Social Media Usage Policy in place and I didn’t break any of the SAP Community Network guidelines. Basically I can Tweet / Blog about anything without fear of reprisal. This freedom is not a problem for most employees but, as companies grow and more staff use Twitter, SCN and other forums it is important for companies to have some control over the content their employees are posting. Even from their personal accounts.
The BBC have a very strict Social Media Usage Policy, if the poster / Tweeter uses the disclaimer “These are my own views and not my employers” and then posts something racist, sexist or derogatory to any one then it still reflects on the organisation. After all, they employ him / her!
The SAP Community Network only remove offensive posts but my recent experience has made me think more about how Personal content can reflect badly on an Employer or Business Partner. We are currently working on a Social Media Policy document that will outline guidelines for personal Social Media use for our employees.
I always remember my old Head Teacher’s comments regarding school trips away “You may be out of school but you are still representing the school so school rules still apply.” This is very true with various forms of Social Media even with the “these are my own views…..” disclaimer. The majority of the time an individual’s common sense will prevail but it is important to document to employees what is acceptable content and what is to be avoided