A Guide to a Social Media Policy

By Dharshan Naidoo in Website and eCommerce

Technology and access to information has made our lives so much easier. Our digital scrapbooking skills through Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pave the way for a new kind of ‘access to information’. It is the access into our lives. It is a mirror on all activities, trips, highlights and events that you wish to share with the entire world.  

And why not? That beach-body pose on the blue shores of Maldives can send followers and likes directly your way and is completely harmless in the meta-verse…right?  

That answer all depends on your company’s Social Media Policy.  

“To Post or Not to Post”  -That is the question that all employees should ask. 

Why have a Social Media Policy?  

The sole purpose of such a policy is for the protection of a company’s brand image and to encourage all employees to use their social media accounts responsibly. So that post of Friday night drinks at the office may send, along with the followers and likes, lawsuits coming your way. Such a policy is a stonewall defence against such suits.   

Do we even need a social media policy nowadays? 

Yes, an up-to-date and active social media policy is essential in current corporates as employees are now more active on social media platforms than ever before. Businesses are solely responsible for the safe-guarding and maintenance of their good business name. Any deviance from that, such as an employee’s post, which may not reflect the the true values or vision of a company and the spreading of fake news could result in huge legal suits and financial losses for the company.   

Who regulates social media in South Africa? 

Lawyers have come to the conclusion that the POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act) does not apply to pictures taken or shared. It is the company’s Human Resources, Public Relations and Marketing departments that are at the forefront of the company’s good business image and hence in charge of reporting and educating employees on the do’s and don’ts of social media.  

What should be added in a social media policy? 

The following are a few elements that are included in a social media policy:   

  1. Employee access: this is an outline on what sites employees are allowed to access at work.  

  2. Conduct, oversight and enforcement: acceptable use and code of conduct of social media accounts.  

  3. Prohibited behaviour: this includes inappropriate jokes; offensive remarks; content that employees do not have the right to and plagiarised content to name a few.  

In conclusion, a social media policy is essential in the current corporate South Africa and illuminates the correct and appropriate use of all social media accounts. In as much as some departments are in charge of the management and maintenance of a good business image, it is the responsibility of all employees to be part and parcel of the face of their company. This policy is the mirror in which the face of the company reflects whenever employees are on the internet.