Social Media Policy: Make Sure Your Employees are Versed With It

Jonathan Hemus
Jonathan Hemus Director, Insignia Communications

Posted on December 17th 2012

Social Media Policy: Make Sure Your Employees are Versed With It

Rhonda Lee: the importance of social media policyTV meteorologist Rhonda Lee lost her job last week after she responded to a viewer’s comment on Facebook.

This is the latest in a line of incidents that underline the potential for social media to spark a firestorm, in particular one which is created by a company employee (Nestle and Chrysler are two other businesses to have suffered from the words of an employee on social media). The KTBS response seems harsh in a couple of ways: the meteorologist’s response was hardly offensive or even controversial, but just as importantly KTBS appears not to have communicated its social media policy effectively to its employees. In my experience, doing so is the first step in preventing self-inflicted social media crises.

Anyone who understands internal communication knows that simply having a policy is not enough, neither is posting it to the intranet or communicating it through a one off meeting or email. If businesses really want staff to understand what their social media policy means in practice, they need to not only brief them, but also to train them. Ideally this should be via a short role play exercise using a social media simulation tool: it’s only by getting people to engage with social media in this way that a dry policy takes on real meaning.

The irony of this situation is that an incident created by social media may culminate in the reinstatement of Rhonda Lee through the power of social media. If so, it will be a further lesson for KTBS on how social media has changed the rules for reputation – and business – management.

Jonathan Hemus

Jonathan Hemus

Director, Insignia Communications

For further insights into and advice on crisis and reputation management, follow Jonathan on Twitter @jhemusinsignia, subscribe to Insignia Communication's YouTube channel or view our website.

About Jonathan Hemus:

Jonathan is an experienced communication counsellor with over 25 years’ experience providing reputation management advice and training to world leading organisations and brands. He is known for his specialist expertise in crisis communication and is a highly regarded trainer and coach.

At Insignia he has developed plans and delivered training to prevent and prepare for crisis, and advised organisations in the midst of major incidents and issues. He has advised organisations including Diageo, Disney, the International Cricket Council, Lafarge, Novartis, Procter and Gamble, PwC across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Jonathan is a regular media commentator on reputation management matters having featured on Sky News, BBC TV and radio, Al Jazeera, CNN, The Times of London and a wide range of international, regional and sector-specific media. He has also spoken on reputation management, crisis communication, PR and reputational risk management at national and international conferences and events.


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