WEALTH has written and podcasted a good deal about the potential of social media. After all, most of the country uses Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites, and they can be a great way to connect to customers and keep tabs on business competitors.
But there are some real downsides to social media. Whether you are an employee or the CEO of a big corporation, you need to know the kinds of activity to avoid.
Proofpoint, an Internet security firm, reports that 17 percent of large companies report having issues with employees’ use of social media. And 8 percent of those companies report having actually dismissed someone for their behavior on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. That’s double from last year, when just 4 percent reported having to fire someone over social media misuse.
So how do you avoid problems yourself or with the company you lead? Here are some suggestions on guidelines for social media use:
First, employees should not use social media on work time unless they have been authorized to do so by their supervisor. Even posts that draw attention to the company’s products may not fit in with the business goals of the company. So make sure your employees know—and that you understand—that posting on work time isn’t a good idea without prior approval.
Second, maintain basic good manners. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your own mother, or your boss or a potential employer or employee to see or read. And for goodness sakes, never complain about your boss, employees or your company on social media. It’s never a good idea because almost anyone can see it.
Third, remember that more and more of the information you share on social media sites, including photos and comments, are considered public and may be used by other companies—perhaps even your own competitors. So double-check your privacy settings for each social media site, and make absolutely sure you are comfortable sharing the information you post.
Finally, know what others are seeing out there about you. Google yourself every once in awhile. Look at your social media pages the way an outsider would see them. Understand that your “digital footprint” can be seen by almost anyone you come in contact with.