We are nearing the end of the year and you know what that means…it’s time to assess and realign things for the New Year. Do you have a social media policy in place for your store? If so, how often do you review it?
It’s a good business practice to regularly assess company assets. Public or private, a dealership’s market value or equity is based directly on the assets it retains.
Assets both tangible (like cash, property, and buildings) and intangible (like your digital reputation, policies and procedures, and social media presence) are directly responsible for a dealership’s market value.
Social media policy falls under the intangible asset category and reviewing your policy on an annual basis is a best practice.
Just as a regular review of expenses and operations brings many benefits, so does a social media policy review. With a lot of angst and fear around social media, an annual review takes some of the sting out. You can’t control everything but with a good policy in place and regular reviews, you’ll leave a lot less up to chance.
1.Reaffirm Dealership Guidelines for Employee Use of Social Media.
Upon hire, each employee should have signed an acknowledgment of receipt of the company’s social media policy. A process to conduct annual reviews of company policy on everything is always a good idea but it’s crucial to social media. Why? Because social media changes often and a dealership’s social media policy should change along with it.
2.It’s an Insurance Policy in the Event of a Social Media Crisis. We’ve seen enough social media debacles in the last nine years to know that it’s not a matter of if, but when it could happen to anyone. Are you prepared should it happen to you?
First, it should be determined and documented what a social media crisis is. Having a company-wide plan in place will empower you to act quickly and effectively when a crisis begins. Instead of wasting time debating how to handle things on social media, you’ll be empowered to take action and prevent the crisis from growing out of control.
3.Helps Avoid Legal Trouble and Exposed Liabilities.
There’s a lot of pressure for car dealers to communicate online today. It’s easy to overlook that social media brings certain responsibilities to mitigate liability.
Some of the places where a company could get into trouble are:
- Using work without permission
- Defaming competitors
- Promises not kept
- User privacy
- Contest violations
Pro Tip: The use of social media increases the risk of accidentally committing libel, slander, copyright infringement, and privacy invasion increases. All those tweets and posts can lead to lawsuits, but a General Liability Insurance policy can help. It includes protection for “advertising injury,” meaning claims from your competitors that you badmouthed them in an ad.
4.Safeguards Against Accidental Leaks of Confidential Information.
Social media is a growing security risk as a source of data leaks and misinformation. Vigilance and training are crucial to minimizing risks for individuals and the company.
Employees using personal electronic devices discuss all sorts of work-related topics on social media — both during and outside of work hours and locations. As a result, confidential data can leak directly.
Another security concern about social media — which continues to make headlines regarding our presidential election — is that criminals can exploit social media to rapidly disseminate “fake news” and other forms of misinformation. Such devious tricks impact more than just politics: they can be used to manipulate stock prices, harm personal or business reputations, or even cause people to take actions that harm innocent parties while helping criminals.
A review of social media policy should update and communicate the consequences that come from accidental leaks of confidential information. Determine where risks lie and outline actions to prevent them.
5.Protects a Dealer’s Digital Reputation.
Businesses around the world ranked damage to their reputation or brand, magnified by social media, as their top risk management concern, according to Aon’s 2017 Global Risk Management Survey.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” -Warren Buffett
This can be especially true today, as high-profile crises, including cyberattacks, product recalls, and damaging social media posts become more prevalent. In this environment, protecting reputation and actively managing risk can take on strategic importance. Yet for many organizations, managing reputation presents challenges.
Many companies do not have a written process exclusively for reputation management. Truthfully, until social media showed up, you didn’t really need it. Reputation management was left to the marketing, advertising and PR people.
Today, every employee is a marketer. A review of social media policy will support ongoing efforts to build and protect a company’s digital reputation by spotlighting internal practices and process.
6.Keeps HR in the Loop on Marketing.
More and more, dealers are using social media as a recruiting tool. With the addition of social selling into the sales process, it’s easy to see that HR is fast becoming a necessary participant in the social media marketing process.
There’s a growing trend of hiring employees who already have a current social media following because they are influencers and are often seen as subject matter experts, especially if they’re in sales positions.
A considered review of social media policies and procedures should include an update on how HR folds into social media and outlines their stake in the decision making around social media.
Author: Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”.