Allevity Blog

Social Media Do’s and Dont's

Oct 26, 2015

Hey! Hey, you! Have you liked us on Facebook? Followed us on Twitter? Connected on LinkedIn? If not, get on it! Social media is here to stay, and businesses stand to benefit when they find ways to work within the new era these networks have brought about. 

But how does a company stay with the times, while navigating the possible risks of social media and the workplace? 

Brand Management

First and foremost, nearly all businesses need some sort of social media presence these days. But having someone who understands social media and building an online brand is crucial to ensuring your online presence doesn’t do more harm than good. In the age of Yelp reviews and 24/7 customer connectivity, a company’s reputation can go downhill fast if they don’t have a savvy social media manager at the helm. So create those company profiles, but make sure you have someone competent monitoring the reaction those profiles are receiving.   

Recruiting 

A 2014 Jobvite study found that 73 percent of recruiters had hired a candidate through social media. Those sites we talked about setting up for your brand? They are a great (and free) way to get the word out about job openings. LinkedIn can be fantastic for networking with potential candidates, and even Twitter has seen an uptick in #jobpost #recruiting and #hiring hashtags. A successful recruiting campaign is one that reaches the most eyes possible, and social media drastically expands your reach with very little time committed on your end. Which makes social media recruiting a win-win. 

Prospective Employee Vetting

Unfortunately, things get sticky when it comes to trying to vet those potential employees you used social media to recruit. The issue is that most people post personal details online that pertain to things you could never legally ask about in an interview. So stalking a candidate’s social media presence opens you up to a potential discrimination lawsuit as a result. 

Even if you would never take a candidate's religious affiliation into consideration, the simple fact that you looked online and found that affiliation could raise questions. Then there’s the fact that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA) requires companies to receive candidate approval for a background check before any such check takes place, something that plenty of hiring managers neglect to do when it comes to social media stalking. Employers are also required to inform candidates of any information that may have been found which could have influenced their hiring decision, and to give those candidates a chance to respond. Failure to comply could result in legal action, which again makes abstaining from social media checks the safer choice. There are just a lot of liability issues involved, but if you can’t help yourself—the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) recommends at least waiting until a contingent offer has been made, then making such searches a part of the official background check. 

Blocking Social Media Sites

What about social media use by employees, during working hours? This is another area where things could get tricky, and where arguments could be made on both sides. On the one hand, a 2011 study found that social media use could absolutely serve as a work distraction. But then, a 2014 study found that three out of five workers attested better working relationships to the connections made over social media. 

Ultimately, your company has to analyze the data and decide which direction you want to take. But keep in mind that there is also something to be said for taking occasional breaks throughout the day to reset, and social media can offer that opportunity. Perhaps instead of instituting a company wide social media ban, you might want to consider allowing social media usage during certain hours, or capping the total time during any given day that employees are allowed to catch up on their Twitter feeds. 

The Power of a Policy

Whatever you decide, in any of the above categories; make sure you commit it to a policy. Social media can be a landmine of potential issues if you don’t have a clearly thought out (and enforced) social media policy in place. 

Need help creating yours? Reach out to us at Allevity—you may be a good candidate to become an Allevity client.  We won’t even make you tweet us first!

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