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Many business owners can be fearful of venturing into the world of social media. The fear usually centres around people saying negative things about your business, a post landing them in hot water or someone accidentally giving sensitive ‘insider’ company info away. This fear can be particularly more acute if the business owner in question is unfamiliar with social media.

The first thing to remember is that even if your business stays out of the social media sphere, many of your customers, vendors and employees will be using some form of social media. That means that even if your business is not on social media, it may still be being discussed on social media in a positive or negative way. Being actively involved means that while you can’t directly control what people are saying, you can at least influence the appearance of your business and engage in the discussion around it. In other words, you can respond to negative comments and show your amazing customer service skills. If you already have a social media account or are thinking of getting one, then this post is for you.

We’ve covered the fact that people may or may not be talking about you on social media whether you’ve signed up or not. However, in terms of the accidental divulgement of business secrets or fear of getting into trouble, that’s perhaps a little more daunting and it leads us to the point of this post. In short, the answer to the question posed in the title of this post is yes. However, when it comes to laying down your business’s social media protocol or policy you do have a few options.

First off, you can operate a ‘trust’ protocol. This one centres around giving social media duties to yourself, an employee or employees that you trust will do a good job. You trust that they’ll respond to comments appropriately, post appropriately and understand social media well.

Another option is to draw up a ‘strict’ protocol that lays down the guidelines for your business’s social media interactions. Remember, social media is organic so it is not realistic to expect to control everything. If you decide to head down this route, you’ll need to think carefully and decide what is appropriate for social media, what company information can be shared, determine who is responsible for policy enforcement etc. This option is more draconian and will require more work, but it may provide you with more peace of mind. If you do choose this option, be sure to be clear so that your employees know where they stand.

Another option is to have a ‘middle ground’ between the two previous options.  This protocol centres around flexibility. It gives your social media poster the ability to add more personality, while providing you with some peace of mind. Again, if you’re laying down rules, be sure to be clear.

Whether you’re leaning toward a ‘trust’, ‘strict’ or ‘middle ground’ policy, it is important for businesses to have social media protocols in place. If you’d like to discuss your social media practices in further detail, you can contact Media Button

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