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Social media is a very powerful tool that can take your small business to the top—or break it with a string of bad experiences. With everyone being so plugged in and dependent on the Internet these days, it’s easy to get wrapped up in online drama and bad reviews if you’re not prepared to deal with them.

While there may not be an insurance policy that you can buy to tackle social media flubs pertaining to your small business, you can insure against social media problems by creating policies for your company and employees.

Avoid trouble with these 7 guidelines to rule your company’s social media presence.

1. When hiring, include social media clauses.

The last thing your company needs is for a disgruntled employee or former employee to blast the business on social media. That could kill your credibility, so don’t take chances!

When hiring new employees, add a clause to their contract that states that they are not allowed to post negative views of the company on social media. If they have an issue, they are to come to the owners, managers, or another business representative to discuss and work it out—not air dirty laundry out on Facebook!

2. Minimize personal attacks on employees.

Let’s be honest, not everyone gets along or likes each other. Just because those are the facts of life, though, does not mean that employees should be allowed to attack their peers online. Make it very clear that work drama and attacks on others within the company are off-limits. Not only does the company deserve respect, but so do the people who work for it!

3. Media is off-limits.

The only person speaking to the media on behalf of the company should be the public affairs department or social media manager that is authorized by the company to do so. Make this clear to all staff to avoid a potential PR nightmare! You can even ask that authorized personnel run important media statements through an owner or manager first before they’re released.

4. Establishing quick response times.

Employees are not the only ones that need guidelines—your business does too! If a customer is so unhappy or satisfied and is posting the story on social media, you need to act! If the feedback is negative, reach out publicly first to show others you are stepping in to make the experience better. This doesn’t mean that you need to discuss the details, it just means you need acknowledge and post a way to rectify the problem. On the other hand, if the post is positive, you’ll want to share that experience by re-posting and let your company shine!

5. Create guidelines for sharing company information.

Many businesses have proprietary or confidential information. This could be leaked through photos, videos, or comments. Make sure your social media policy limits this sort of sharing by employees.

On the other hand, you can put a policy in place that states that employees authorized to post for the company must obtain permission for images and work done by others. This will help prevent potential lawsuits.

6. Protect company time.

Most people know that they are not supposed to be surfing personal social media at work, but many employees often do. You may not be able to stop this behavior entirely, but you can make it a policy to not be on social media sites while at work. This could protect your company later when your employee decides to Facebook live stream their entire workday.

7. Include discrimination.

In today’s climate, adding a clause for discrimination is essential. This should include slurs related to sex, sexual orientation, racial, religious, and physical disability. Make it clear that your business will not tolerate any discrimination!

This is a great place to start to make sure your company is protected against any unwanted social media occurrences. For more ways to insure your company, contact us here.