Primark has come under fire for comments posted by employees on Facebook, comments that are insulting to customers. It’s not the first time negative comments made on social media have backfired, it seems many people who use social media still aren’t sure where the privacy line should be drawn. It’s clear that companies need to be specific  in setting out their expectations to employees – and it’s something I’ve been working on.

If someone came to you and asked how to use social media what would you say? I’ve been working on social media policies for employees, and I wanted to approach it from a positive perspective rather than being “rule-driven“. Something similar to the approach taken at Intel.

The top policy guidelines for me boil down to;

  1. Respect
    Treat your colleagues and clients with respect; you’re an ambassador for yourself, your team, your company.
  2. Get facts straight
    Write about what you know, check your facts and be prepared to answer follow up questions and respond to comments.
  3. Think
    If it’s online it’s visible; your current employer, your colleagues, your future employer and your grandmother can see this. Do you want them all to know what you’re up to or to witness via photos/video exactly what you’ve been up to?

There’s also a need to keep in mind the company’s property including intellectual property and to remember any security issues that your comments might touch on.

I think it’s easy to be seduced by the ease of using social media, and the feeling of community into saying more than you really want to. And once it’s published it’s out there for all to see. It’s a smart company which comes up with guidelines on responsible use of social media which steer the line between  encouraging and controlling the use of social media by employees.

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