While thoughtful use of social media can bring many benefits to an organization, an organization should ensure it has a well-defined plan to avoid certain pitfalls and risks. A well-defined policy for acceptable use of social media by employees, along with a strategy to effectively use social media tools for marketing will help ensure the organization recognizes the benefits of social media.

Social Media Policy
While we would all like to believe that our employees are thoughtful and use common sense to approach issues; unfortunately we know that is not always the case. In addition, younger generations who have used social media for most of their lives may have a different perspective on what is acceptable to share via social media as compared to you. It is not enough to not only create a social media policy for your business that is direct as to appropriate use, but also to ensure staff is trained on and reminded of the policy.

As you approach creating a social media policy, a few key areas that should be addressed in the policy include:

• Strategy: discuss why you are using social media, the tools you plan to use and what the benefits you hope to derive are.

• Chain of command: Identify who is in charge and who will participate in using social media.

• Appropriate usage (what to say / what not to say): While you may believe that common sense will prevail, cultural and generational differences can greatly impact what people find as appropriate. Be specific to what can be shared / posted via social media and what should not be.

• Identify the source: When sharing content created by others, make sure you appropriately identify the source that created the material.

• Business versus personal use: Make sure you have defined what is acceptable to post about your business as using social media is consider free speech, and thus constitutionally protected.

While social media can allow a business to potentially connect to a broader audience than traditional networking and advertising allows, it is necessary to take steps to set a policy and protect your business from inappropriate or unintended usage.

About Alegria & Company, P.S.

We want to be your partner in success. Helping you with your financial needs is the perfect opportunity to do so. Our team of four partners and twenty-five professional staff located in two offices in Yakima and Prosser are well placed to serve clients from Yakima through the Lower Valley, the Columbia Basin and throughout the Pacific Northwest.