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Social Media Guidelines For AV

What is YOUR Social Media Policy?

Social Media Policy

Image Courtesy of TwitterFlash.com

Until recently, most audiovisual (AV) equipment manufacturers and re-sellers saw no place for social media in their business model.  Their social media policy was simply “No YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter while you are working” (or something to that effect).

But with younger generations now using social media websites to search for new products and businesses, today’s AV companies realize that they have no choice but to get on Facebook, and start doing The Twitter thang.  You and your employees need to promote your business as a brand, but also as individuals working together on the same team.

Your company may have employees who are already tweeting, blogging, or updating their status to hundreds of followers, oftentimes about work-related topics:  

  • first week at new job, so far so good.  Going out with new coworkers after work
  • my coworkers are all golfing in Napa, while I’m stuck in the office #whatamidoingwrong?
  • I think my boss needs a firmware update

But do those employees realize that some of their seemingly-harmless status updates could actually jeopardize their company’s future business?  What if an employee mentions a new product, software, or service that had not been released yet?  What if they mentioned a business opportunity that was off the radar of their competitors?  What if an employee was upset about recent management restructuring, or layoffs, and decided to go on a Twitter rampage?

By creating a basic social media policy for your company and its employees, you can minimize your risks online.  With proper training, your employees, marketing, and executive staff will understand that every voice matters.  You should encourage them to be themselves online, but to keep certain company values and guidelines in mind.  They need to respect copyrights and fair use laws.  Tell them that it is okay to discuss the company in general, as long as they stay positve, respect people’s privacy, and they don’t give away project leads, proprietary software, or internal information about the company like organizational structure or sales margins. 

The easiest way (that I have found) to get a social media policy started is to use the free tool on this website.  Once you have signoff from your marketing team and make it an official company policy, be sure to notify all employees in a meeting or memo, and ask for their feedback since they probably use social media more than you do.  From then on, consider it a living document that should be reviewed and revised every three months, incorporating employee feedback as the social media amoeba continues to grow and change.

So what do you do about the employees who are always on Facebook?  Well for starters, you could put them in charge of your new social media marketing campaign!  Not ready to do that just yet? Then maybe you could tell your employees that its okay to use social media websites and apps while they work, as long as they keep it to business related activities, or to break times, and that they try mention your company at least once a day, either in a status update, a Like, or a tweet.  You may also want to explicitly limit Facebook games, and establish procedures for moderating comments from the public sector.  Instead of rules, offer guidance, and encourage your employees to show their personalities and creativity online.  

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