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Social media policies essential for businesses


Companies prepare for disasters or problems in multiple ways. Having business insurance, preparing disaster management strategies and properly training employees are all critical to business success and limiting risks or future issues. However, many firms put themselves at risk by failing to have proper social media policies and efficiently communicating these initiatives to workers.

Many fail to develop policies 
A recent study from consulting firm Protiviti revealed not only do many enterprises lack policies, doing so can have a significant impact on business. The data showed 51 percent of companies have no social media risk mitigation policies and 45 percent have no plans to implement such strategies over the coming months. It appears even those that do take the time to make and communicate a plan may not manage risks well - 84 percent of firms with such policies claimed they did nothing or were only "moderately effective."

"The survey findings are surprising in that they show how many businesses are either inadequately prepared or altogether inactive in putting effective processes and policies in place around social media," said Brian Christensen, executive vice president, global internal audit, at Protiviti. "From a risk management perspective, this poses significant potential problems for businesses that can range from reputational risk to IT infrastructure risk as a result of unchecked exposures to customer, vendor and company information."

Hazy guidelines can make developing an effective policy tricky
Because social media has become such an important part of everyday life and it's common for workers to use platforms frequently, it's vital for employers to come up with a policy that actually works. Firms should have lists of things it finds permissible to post and things that are strictly prohibited. However, some business leaders may be hesitant to implement rules for fear they might violate workers' rights. 

While employees should be forbidden from posting confidential information, such as company or trade secrets, merchandise launch dates or financial data, it can be harder for workplaces to effectively bar them from posting other information without potentially violating their rights. Employers should work with an attorney or carefully compare their own potential set of guidelines to the National Labor Relations Board's recent rulings, which can give businesses some idea about what their employees are permitted to say and what is considered unprotected speech. 

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