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Just about everyone uses social media, with accounts in either Facebook, Twitter or other sites. In addition, most people also have a mobile phone which can access these sites. Social media plays a big role in businesses. It is a great tool to get the word out and to spread it like wildfire.

While it is one thing to use social media for business purposes, many employees also have personal accounts which they may use during business hours to post anything which will be unrelated to work. It can be a slightly blurry line between personal and business use. However, here are some tips to help ensure that your employees follow the company’s rules and policies when using these sites and to cut down personal use during business hours.

1. Come Up with a Policy

As a business, you want to build trust with your employees. Try and do a survey in order to get some valuable input from your employees regarding social media use. Then, you can come up with a clear and simple policy. Keep it informal and pleasant and maintain a positive tone with no mention of any misconduct or discipline involved.

2. Business & Personal Separation

Make it clear that they should keep their professional and personal accounts separate. This also helps protect them. It actually makes perfect sense and your employees will probably agree easily. After all, future employers or even clients will have the ability to read and check information on them on their personal accounts, as it is easy to delve into the past.

3. Company Time = Company Business

It should be made clear that company time is only for company business. By being fair and not actually banning social media, employees appreciate that they are not being punished and they may actually agree with the policy. It can be seen in the same way where a personal call or the use of the Internet is not banned, but it should be kept to a minimum.

4. Think Before Posting

Some people never think before they post. This could cause a lot of embarrassment to both themselves and the company. Confidential information, or saying something about the owner of the company can cause much damage. It could also cause the poster to lose their job. It is never a good idea to tarnish the image of the company or the owner. It is best to be diplomatic when responding to comments or sometimes, not comment at all.

5. Answering the Media

Sometimes, an employee may be contacted by some journalist on Facebook, for example. Journalists and reporters also use social media and if they were to contact an employee of the company, make sure your employees notify someone within the company first before answering any questions.

6. Personal Information

Let employees know that revealing personal information, either that of the company, the owner or even themselves is not a good idea. This could lead to spam, identity theft and pranks. Let your employees know that there are certain privacy settings that can be turned on or off which can limit who can see posts or have access to personal information.

While using social media during work hours can help businesses, it can also create a lot of problems, not just for the company but for the individual. Make sure employees are familiar with procedures so that they don’t get into trouble or cause the company to lose business because of posts that are controversial. They need to know that by posting something on their personal accounts during business times which may be derogatory, they could end up losing their jobs. When in doubt, consult with an employment lawyer for navigating these workplace issues.

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