With the increasing use of social media in the workplace, companies can take effective steps to manage risks associated with these activities.
Many businesses are finding clever and innovative ways to leverage Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networking applications to their advantage. These platforms can be effective tools for generating new business, monitoring consumer perceptions of your company, recruiting new employees, and building credibility.
While social media can be helpful and effective, there are also a variety of risks associated with its use, including a negative impact on employee productivity, potential for workplace harassment, damage to the company’s reputation, legal ramifications, and misuse of the company’s confidential information. In addition, exposure to malware through social media platforms can lead to compromised social media accounts, data loss, identity theft, and damaged devices.
Creating an Effective Social Media Policy
Although there is no absolute protection from these risks, companies with a well-planned social media policy are in a better position to protect themselves. Here are ideas for creating an effective policy.
Involve all departments. When discussing your social media policy, include representatives from HR, legal, compliance, public relations, and marketing. This will bring different viewpoints into the discussion, help customize the policy to the needs of your organization, and ensure legal requirements are met.
Be specific. The policy should alert employees that use of all forms of electronic communications in ways that are illegal, contrary to the company’s interests, or in violation of antidiscrimination policies will not be tolerated. This includes social media activities, blogging, texting, and instant messaging.
Don’t bury the policy in your employee handbook. While your social media policy should be in writing and included in your employee handbook, it should also be included in ongoing employee training. The repercussions of social media infractions can be costly to your company’s reputation, so be proactive and train employees. Communicate established consequences for policy violations, and follow through when issues arise.
Encourage responsible and appropriate use of social media. Provide acceptable language and ideas your employees can use on social media when talking about your company to benefit and promote your company in a positive manner.
Keep it up to date. Review your social media policy on a quarterly basis and make any needed changes. Review decisions made by the National Labor Relations Board and Federal Trade Commission regarding social media policies, and update your policy accordingly.
Protect Against Malware
Social media platforms have become another venue for cyber criminals to deploy their attacks. When a social media account is compromised by malware, the results can be devastating to a company’s brand. To protect against malware, be wary of clicking on links in social media posts, messages, and ads – even those sent by trusted sources. Also, use antivirus software and keep it up to date.
Protect Your Company with Cyber Insurance
Cyber insurance is a form of business insurance designed to pay for losses associated with data compromise as well as media or web content liability. This coverage offsets costs involved with recovery after a cyber-related breach affecting your company, including data breach notification costs, damage to your hardware/software systems (including websites and intellectual data), public relations cost reimbursement, and business interruption coverage for the time that your business cannot operate due to the breach.
Contact your Leavitt Group insurance advisor to learn more about protecting your business with a social media policy.
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