Social media is a major marketing tool and source of revenue for many businesses, however as a family and owner managed business are you afraid of social media? Should you be?
The statistics behind the use of social media are frankly quite staggering. There are now over 3 billion active social media users, with users growing by 121 million between the second and third quarters of 2017. 91% of retail brands use 2 or more social media channels and 81% of all small and medium businesses use some kind of social platform. Almost a quarter of businesses say they use social media and blogging to develop their business's image or market products. So surely you are being left behind if you do not use social media as a business?
Despite the statistics, there will always be concern around the use of social media, more commonly amongst the older generation. As the new generation of a family and owner managed business come through advocating the use of social media, there may be a reluctance in the older generation who have always conducted business in a certain way.
This concern may manifest in different ways:
- the lack of trust in social media providers;
- the lack of control over the employees using the social media accounts; and
- the potential reputational damage, both in terms of making mistakes whilst using social media as a business and the public platform that grants customers/clients the freedom to comment on the business and its products/services.
Social media policy
A carefully drafted social media policy will go a long way in addressing any concerns and minimising the risks a family and owner managed business may have with using social media. Such a policy could include for example:
- a list of guidelines for employees to follow so that they can use social media responsibly;
- the ability of the business to monitor the social media communications placed; and
- the consequences of breaching the policy as a deterrent for misuse, for example disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
A social media policy could be the key to unlocking the benefits of social media, whilst at the same time providing a level of security for the family and owner managed business.