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2 minute read

How to Prevent Social Media Disasters

At Broadcat, we love social media! Our CEO even started started vlogging at the latest Ethisphere conference. Social media is a great connector but it also has its downsides. We’ve all seen or read about social media debacles; here are just a few examples that come to mind: 

  • An ad executive posts on the wrong account and immediately loses her firms’ lucrative deal
  • A newly hired employee was un-hired after posting negative comments about his soon-to-be new employer
  • Employees dressed in company clothing taking part in wildly inappropriate behavior
  • The new “Quit-Tok” trend of recording and posting online meetings where employees are terminated

While these make for great headlines, you don’t want to be the organization or individual (oh, the irony!) whose name is splattered across social media for these blunders. 😬

June 30 is Social Media Day. (If it snuck up on you, keep current with  Broadcat’s handy-dandy Ethics & Compliance Events Calendar!) And, while we understand that good behavior—whether on social media or in real life—shouldn’t be relegated to a single day, we also know that sometimes you just gotta pinpoint a “special day” for the higher-ups to give you their buy-in to spread the word. 

So, if you haven’t talked to your peeps lately about responsible social media usage, this is a great time! 🌟

What, exactly, does “responsible social media usage” mean for everyone at your org? 

  • It means protecting your company’s information. That means no photos with sensitive info in the background and no posts about confidential info—even if that information is going to be announced realllly soon
  • It means your post shouldn’t contradict your company’s values. If environmental stewardship is a cornerstone of your org, don’t post about taking your private jet to Gstaad.  
  • It means you don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother or the media to know about. Even if you think it’s private and no one at work will ever see it, it can be easily shared outside of your network.
  • It means you’re not bullying, antagonizing, name-calling, or harassing anyone. Does this even need a description?
giphy-Jun-07-2024-03-21-23-6136-PMSo true. | Source: NBC’s Saturday Night Live via

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but everyone needs a little nudge now and again.😉 Ensure your folks fully understand these expectations by having a social media policy with clear guidance on what they can and can’t do. And if you want some tips and tricks on how to do that, or you just want to pressure test your current policy, check out our post on How to make your compliance policies understandable. And remember: A policy by itself is useless if you don’t routinely message your employees about it (more on that here and here and here). 

Keep in mind that “routinely message” also means that you catch them at the right place at the right time. Sure, Social Media Day is a wonderful opportunity to get the word out, but it doesn’t mean you’re done until next June. Here are a few high-risk situations where you can align the timing of your messages:

  • An office Halloween party where sensitive info might find its way into the background of an Insta story 
  • When a team is formed to start a sensitive project
  • A merger or acquisition is pending
  • You’re gearing up for a new product launch
  • A re-org or other major business change is underway

I’m sure you can think of other moments, too. Basically, don’t expect employees to remember what you told them four months ago. Keep the message alive!🧟

And if you need materials, I’d be remiss not to mention that Design Club has a ton of useful tools to help you out, including our popular social media module and checklist

social media collage

Speaking of Social Media Day, why not celebrate by following a really great organization on LinkedIn and X if you’re not already doing so?

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