It’s the nightmare situation. Your bar, restaurant, hotel or cafe has built up a thriving social media presence and with one click, that reputation is destroyed. Have a social media policy for your employees however and that can all be avoided.
Of course, every business is different and some of you will have your own specific social media department or outsource to a social media agency. If you don’t, you need to help your employees understand what can and can’t be posted, as well as how to engage with customers on a daily basis.
Still with me? Good. Let’s get this show on the road…
Business social media accounts
First and foremost, your social media policy needs to explain who can and can’t interact on behalf of your company. If you have a few members of staff who have some training in social media, make sure it’s clear to everyone in your company, that they’re the only ones who should be posting content and engaging with customers on your Facebook and Twitter profiles etc.
Despite that, don’t feel like you have to provide a strict social media policy. It all depends on your business and its brand image, as well as how well you know your staff and if they can be trusted representing your organisation.
For example, if your restaurant has a waitress who has been with you for years and understands the business inside out, it can be beneficial for you if they take over your Facebook page because you are not only empowering that employee, but also, that member of staff is likely to have valuable knowledge of the situation which will help resolve it.
On the flip side, you need to be very careful with who you trust. You don’t want a new over-passionate employee replying to a customer complaint defending your business and getting involved in a massive argument.
Once you’ve decided who you want to have access to your profiles, you need to set some ground rules…
– Provide detailed content guidelines including what tone of voice you want to put across, what imagery you want to use, how many posts a day and how all content needs to be on brand.
– Create standard responses so that your employees can reply to messages in all different types of situations. An idea is to get together and brainstorm all the common questions you receive and write answers for them i.e. does a certain dish include nuts and what time does the event at your cafe finish on Saturday etc. By doing so, it means not having to contact a senior member of staff and also, it means the customer gets an almost immediate response.
– Conflicts on the other hand should be dealt with by a senior member of staff. You don’t want a simple complaint to get out of hand because conflicts really can escalate quickly on social media. Make it clear in your social media policy that all problems should be sent to the member of staff in charge immediately. Of course, if your business has a specific social media team, they will be able to respond to the issues as they will have the correct training.
– Legal issues. Staff in charge of your social media should be made informed about legal issues involved. That could be anything from crediting original sources if borrowing content from elsewhere, to confidential information about the business.
– Safety and security. Those in charge of your social media channels need to be informed about potential hacking and phishing scams. That can include setting a secure password and avoiding any suspicious spam which could be malware.
– Most importantly of all, ensure that your staff are well aware that they are representing the organisation at all times. They need to keep on brand and know the business inside out to be able to provide the best possible social media coverage.
Personal social media accounts
As well as setting guidelines for your business profiles, you need to outline basic expectations for your staff and their personal social media accounts.
They need to be made well aware what is sensitive information and what isn’t. For example, if your restaurant has a dish which includes a secret ingredients, you do not want your employees posting that unique information on their Facebook page as it is almost guaranteed to be picked up by a rival restaurant.
Likewise, you don’t want them posting anything which could put your business or staff at risk. E.g. If they post an image on Twitter saying they’re on the close and the image reveals that there is only one or two members of staff still there, then it could lead to a potential theft.
Additionally, your hotel may be about to launch a new chain in Scotland. Your social media policy needs to make it clear that in no uncertain terms can your employees post about new product releases or announcements on their social media profiles. If they do, months and maybe even years of preparation could be destroyed.
So there you have it. Implement these guidelines into your social media policy and not only will your business continue to have a fantastic social media presence but it will help your restaurant, bar, hotel or cafe stay ahead of the competition.