Social Media for Managers

by Theresa Truscott

Things your people should NOT do

There are some general things to include in a social media policy about what should not be done while online.

1. Do not share confidential and/or proprietary information

Being transparent doesn’t mean giving away secret information that gives your business a competitive advantage.

Employers should never fail to make employees aware of any obligation they may have to protect confidential or proprietary information. Transparency doesn’t give employees free rein to share just anything.

It should be explicitly stated that employees who share confidential or proprietary information do so at the risk of losing their job and possibly even ending up a defendant in court. At the very least, companies will seriously question the judgment of an employee who shares confidential or proprietary information via social media.

2. Don’t take privacy and security for granted.

This hearkens back to considering one’s audience. Information on the worldwide web is accessible to anyone: those you intend it for, and those you do not.

With public social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, changes are made with little or no notice. Companies that are doing business on these networks must ensure that they understand the privacy and security implications of each network, and they must make every effort to protect their own as well as their customers’ data.

3. Don’t let it take over your life

There are some organisations that consider there to be no ‘balance’ of social media and work, as talking to people is their ‘real’ job. Connections must first be made in order to transform contacts to customers. Some even estimate that 90 per cent of their business is communication with people (online and by phone).

Even so, social media usage won’t benefit the business if it does not execute the core competencies of your enterprise. In other words, at some point, ‘talking’ needs to turn into ‘signing the contract’.


Social media is NOT your job – it is a tool to do your job more effectively!

4. Don’t deal with grievances in public

While it may be satisfying to make a smart response to a negative comment, it does not necessarily portray your business in a good light. A much better approach is to deal with the comment outside of the public arena and then post a response showing how the problem was resolved.

5. Don’t make it personal

Making personal comments can be considered as cyber-bullying and can even lead to legal action. Employees need to be instructed to respond with facts and to be careful of the tone of their wording, no matter how provocative the other party is being.