Social Media is a Slippery Slope for Employers and Employees

In a digital world, social media reigns supreme. Most businesses are on social media but so are most of your employees. It’s a great tool when used appropriately, and there’s no denying the amount of money that’s available to those who properly execute their social media brand.

Issues arise when social media is misused or used in a way that’s confusing to others. Online platforms have changed the way we communicate, allowing just about anyone to go “viral” and make a living by becoming an “influencer.”

For employers and employees alike, navigating the world of social media can be a daunting task, and it’s essential to establish clear guidelines to protect both the company’s image and the productivity of your workforce.

Avoiding Mixed or Confusing Branding

One of the most common issues on social media for businesses is when two different (often competing) brands collide on social media. When your employees leverage platforms to promote their personal brands on company time, other users may associate your company with your employee’s own brand.

Your brand needs to remain separate from that of your employees, so it’s important to have policies that prevent employees from using company time, facilities, or equipment to produce content for their own platforms. The only time this is acceptable is if their pages are specifically tied to your company for company purposes and not their own.

Your social media guidelines should be explicit on this issue to ensure a clear distinction between all employees’ personal and professional online presence.

Does That Post Represent Your Company?

Another area of concern is the potential for employees to inadvertently represent their employers’ views or values on their social media. When employees list their workplace in their social media bios or post regularly about where they work, it can give the impression that their own opinions reflect those of the company. This can lead to reputation problems for your company at no fault of your own.

In order to address this, implement policies that clearly state all employee social media accounts are distinct from company accounts (unless otherwise authorized) and that any discussion around topics like politics, religion, or other controversial topics is kept separate from company accounts.

Employees should be encouraged to include disclaimers that their views are personal and do not represent those of the company on their pages. Additionally, the use of any company logos, facilities, or equipment should not be visible in any pictures or videos that relate to controversial subjects.

Enforce Social Media Policies in Writing

While verbal agreements and discussions about social media policies allow you to address these issues directly, they are not sufficient. Verbal contracts are enforceable in Florida, but enforcement is less complicated when you get it in writing.

Written policies should outline acceptable and unacceptable social media practices, provide clear examples, and specify consequences for violations. Have your employees read and sign these contracts to legally bind them to these standards.

If your business is looking to implement new social media policies but you’re unsure where to start, schedule a consultation with Bryant Taylor Law. Our team can help your business review, write, and implement policies that protect your image and safeguard your business from potential litigation.

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