An Effective Social Media Policy

Aug. 20, 2020

How to establish a social media policy that employees will understand and accept. 

These days, I often remind my kids that what they post on social media never goes away. Somebody out there’s always watching what you post. So, you have to be very, very careful. 

Personally, I’m not even on Facebook, but I certainly know how powerful social media platforms like that can be. And that’s especially true for businesses like body shops. That’s why I make sure to talk to my staff about the potential impact—both negative and positive—of social media. 

After all, there are so many forms of social media in 2020, it’s important that businesses manage every form of it carefully. For one thing, very few of us can afford to offend—and eventually lose—customers because of an insensitive social media post. 

At my shops, our social media policy, in general, is fairly simple: we don’t want to post anything detrimental to the company in any way, shape, or form. So, first of all, on our company social media pages we don’t post anything political, because that tends to be quite divisive. I mean, I could post something about us wanting to help all the homeless people in my state, Alaska, and 40 percent of the population might disagree with me. So, our stance is to just stay away from that. Our company is very active with charity, but we avoid any social media posts that are socially divisive in any way. 

Other key elements of our social media policy include the following: 

Derogatory posts about coworkers aren’t tolerated. We simply won’t tolerate employees belittling other staff members on social media. One time I actually had to let a guy go based off a social media post his girlfriend made about another team member. She had posted a really negative comment about a female we had at work, and we had to let him go because of it. Because, in my mind, nothing should take away from our team and what we’re striving for. 

Many employees will mix personal social media posts with some posts related to work. Maybe they’ll post a picture of coworkers on their personal social media feeds and say how they love working in your body shop. Then, their next post could be something controversial. And that’s when we take a stand. But, if an employee keeps their social media posts strictly personal and unrelated to work, then I could care less what they post about. 

Posts that take away from our company are prohibited. That’s the broad stroke we use. So,that leaves our policy’s wording fairly broad, so employees understand that, whether it be swearing, or political views, if a social media post stands a chance to cause a potential customer to not get their car fixed with us, then it’s not allowed. 

The good thing is, I really don’t have to police our social media policy too often, because the rest of our staff monitors things. I mean, they all become friends on social media. So, if a post pops up that’s questionable, and other employees see it and know that it could negatively impact our organization, then it’s dealt with quickly. 

It’s actually amazing how well our employees enforce our social media policies themselves, just by monitoring each other. Because we’re clear on our policy, they self-police it. 

The bottom line is, I have my own views, but you won’t see any social media posts made by me that might be remotely divisive. You won’t even see any mildly controversial bumper stickers or political signs on the vehicle I drive to work. Because, to me, my duty is to make sure that we have plenty of work for our staff, and plenty of vehicles to fix. And I don’t want anything to take away from that, whether it be a personal view of mine, or a personal view of my staff. 

It’s been a long time since our company has had any problems with an employee making social media posts that were detrimental to our business—and our very clear staff policy has played a key role in that. 

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