What’s in your firm’s social media policy?
Social media is one of the most powerful and easy ways to market your firm, and it is the rare accounting firm that doesn’t have some sort of social media presence. But with great power comes great responsibility, and it is time for firms to either create, or update, their social media policies.
We all like to think that everyone who works for our firms is knowledgeable about what is, and is not, appropriate to share publicly. We also want to believe they are polite and thoughtful and would never say something threatening, disparaging or careless. But as one sad — and sometimes devastating — story after another proves, this isn’t always the case.
Having a carefully designed social media policy in place isn’t only a matter of establishing standards for politeness; it’s necessary if you wish to legally protect your firm and its actions. But simply having a policy isn’t enough to ensure that you are protected; you need to get employees’ signatures as proof that they have read it thoroughly, train every person at your firm on it, and update both the policy and training as new issues arise or new platforms are incorporated into your marketing strategy.
Social media is a powerful tool for firm marketing and communications on all levels and can be effective and even fun. It also provides copious opportunities for making very public faux pas — or much worse — that can do your firm a world of harm. A true social media policy goes much further than requesting good manners and protects your firm by providing the guidance employees need.
In many cases, the best approach is to bring in an outside expert to not only help craft the policy so it fits your specific firm and its culture, but to also do the training so employees can feel comfortable directing questions at a neutral party. However, you decide to address it, don’t wait until an issue arises. Now is the time to take a hard look at social media situation and make sure your firm, its leaders and its reputation are protected.
As you think about creating your own policy, be sure that it covers the following areas at a minimum.