Companies should be increasingly aware of their social media footprint that can make or break a company in lightning flash fashion. Recent news events have created unwanted publicity to companies for no fault of their own when employees post opinions, events and comments to their social media platforms. Employees are exercising their rights of free speech and that can often have detrimental impacts on the companies they work for.
Isolation due to the COVID crisis, MeToo and the Black Live Matter movements have empowered people to create change. Although companies cannot control what their employees do on their own time, they can enforce social media policies with consequences for actions that have a detrimental impact on the company. This includes harassment of other employees, clients and others.
In the wake of the current issues plaguing the United States, certain topics can be considered sensitive. In one instance, an employee made an inflammatory comment about current events and the company received threatening phone calls and adverse social media postings. In this instance, the employee was terminated and had to issue a public apology. In another instance, a woman was fired from Franklin Templeton after a video of her harassing a black man after he asked her to leash her dog. 
Companies like Best Buy and Intel have implemented procedures that are similar in execution:
- Identifying yourselves as part of said company: Anything you say on social media reflects on your employer. If you wish to say something you need to be clear it isn’t part of the company.
- Protecting your intellectual property: Social Media is the perfect spot for leaks. Protecting your personal information and sensitive company material is important online. Don’t go posting everything you hear from the company, or better yet don’t post at all unless sanctioned by your employer to do so.
- Using Common Sense: Whatever is said on the Internet is for the world to see. If you don’t want it posted, don’t post it. This also means playing nice on the internet. It doesn’t matter what medium you use, whatever you say is reflected on your employer.
Attached to this article is a sample social media policy. This may or may not be right for your company, but it can serve as a guide. But not being careful with what you say can open yourself to ridicule and possible trouble. Talk to your employees about how to act online and consult your carrier and attorney about best practices and enforcement policies.