How to avoid social media mishaps at your Christmas party

Christmas is a time for celebration and enjoying time with our workmates and celebrating getting through another year. (this year has been particularly hard)

Being a digital marketing consultant, social media is usually part of the marketing mix for most of the businesses I work with. Part of that strategy includes being authentic and sharing real-life situations.

However, Christmas parties are one area where there is such a thing as too much real =-life and oversharing. The photo of the intoxicated IT guy during the ‘elaine’ dance might be a photo but what might be inadvertently caught in the background, might not be so good.

A social media post can be removed however how much damage will it cause before it has been taken off your Facebook page. Remember the internet remembers everything!

A good rule of thumb before you post anything ask this one question – would your Mum approve?

On one hand, it is great that social media is accessible for your team allowing you to amplify your company reach. On the other, having access to a camera and intoxication is really a good mix.

If having drunken Christmas party antics immortalized on social media worries you, then it’s worth creating a social media policy if you don’t have one, and reminding employees of the key points before the party.

How to create a social media policy
A SMP is something that you should have all year round, not just at Christmas. If you don’t have one yet, then I suggest you invest in one as it could save your company and employees a lot of embarrassment.
Where do you start and what should be included in your Social Media Policy?
Your social media policy should be a document that sets out the rules and expectations for your employees’ use of social media in the workplace. This may also need to extend to expectations of social media by your employees in their personal lives too, if this may have an impact on the company. Make sure to mention that the policy extends to all work functions, including the Christmas party.

The foundation of the SMP is about sharing what is acceptable and the ramifications of what they share on social media.

What your policy should contain
The policy should spell out what employees can and cannot say about the company and it should be very clear about the difference between business and private social media. An official policy can help you:
• Maintain your brand identity across channels
• Treat legal and regulatory sensitivities with awareness
• Prevent a security breach
• Prevent a full-blown PR crisis
• Act fast if a crisis or breach does happen
• Be upfront with your employees about their own social media responsibilities
• Encourage your employees to own and amplify your brand’s message

1. Define your team’s roles: Who owns which social accounts? Who covers which responsibilities on a daily, weekly or as-needed basis? Responsibilities to assign might include: posting, customer service, advertising, monitoring, and crisis management.

2. Establish security protocols: This could include things like: How often do your account passwords get changed? Who maintains them, and who has access to them? Who should employees talk to if they want to escalate a concern?

3. What’s the plan if something goes wrong?: Sometimes things go wrong so outline the process if that happens. Who is responsible and who should get involved in disciplinary action, removing posts, and managing any fallout?

4. Outline how to stay compliant with the law: This can vary in different countries but it should consider copyright, privacy, and confidentiality

5. Provide guidance on how employees behave on their personal social media accounts
Posting hate speech, threats of violence, harassment, or racial epithets on social media may violate the law, or your organization’s code of ethics, or both. Regardless, employees should know that they will be held responsible for what they say.

6. Encourage employees to take part in conversations around your brand

Remind employees of the policy prior to the Christmas party. When providing employees with the details of the party, remind them of the key points from the social media policy.
• Don’t post pictures that feature colleagues if you haven’t asked their permission
• Don’t post inappropriate photos of your workplace
• Don’t post anything negative about the company
• Don’t post anything negative or derogatory about a colleague

Encourage acceptable social media usage
It’s important to remember though that the Christmas party is a time for fun however you need to remember the balance. Use this as an opportunity to tell them what they are able to share. You could supply a hashtag that can be used with all posts, which would enable you to collate all images that are shared into a central collection for everyone to view.

The annual Christmas party should be a night of festive fun and not spent frantically worrying about employees’ social media usage. To avoid the latter make sure all employees are fully briefed on your social media policy and understand what constitutes unacceptable behaviour.

If you need help with creating a Social Media Policy for your company, get in touch and I can help you out.tanya@digitalconversations.com.au