CEOs’ one simple rule for social media: Don’t be an embarrassment

CEOs were asked: The issue of social media use has become a hot topic. What are your organization’s rules governing social media among employees?

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If you’d be embarrassed for your grandmother to see it — don’t post it!

Michael Balaban, president, CEO, Jewish Federation of Broward County

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Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want to see in the Miami Herald, or worse, TMZ.

Uhriel Bedoya, Florida general manager, Lime

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We are a creative architecture and design firm that promotes independent and responsible workflows. We don’t have fixed rules for social media use, but prefer to create a culture that requires responsibility and accountability. Many of our employees are millennials and they relate to fluent virtual communication modes and work environments, so we use several cloud-based platforms to set project goals, communicate internally and challenge ourselves.

Claudia Busch, founding principal, Berenblum Busch Architects

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I love this question. We actually have a comprehensive policy on social media that we’ve drafted as part of a legal compliance document repository we provide to our risk management clients. The policy is two pages long, so a bit wordy for this column. At the core of the policy, though, is a requirement to refrain from sharing confidential information and disparaging clients or peers. Generally speaking, we request that all communication that can reflect on our business be professional (and, something that your great-grandma would be okay with).

Anita Byer, CEO, Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk

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We are extremely selective in our hiring process. Our staff are chosen as they adhere to professionalism at work and in everyday life. We have no need to articulate formal rules on social media in the workplace, as everyone at Lionheart is too busy during work hours, and after hours they continue to represent the pillars of what the Lionheart Capital brand stands for.

Ricardo Dunin, founding partner, Lionheart Capital

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For us, and I assume many others, social media is a great opportunity and a daunting risk. Difficult to control how staff, customers and competitors will use social media. a paradigm shifting announcement in social media can launch a company to the highest levels of innovation and public recognition, and a misstep or complaint that goes viral can have the exact opposite and sometimes devastating effect. Accordingly, our social media policy is quite prudent and restrictive.

Carlos R. Fernandez-Guzman, president, CEO, Pacific National Bank (PNB)

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We have a great company culture that’s very collegial and organic, and we trust that our employees use common sense when it comes to social media and know where to draw the line between their work and personal lives.

Arnaud Karsenti, managing principal, 13th Floor Investments

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Being a small manufacturing company, we don’t have this issue at this time. Employees during the shift are busy in production.

Yaeli Merenfeld, president, Anny’s Bread Factory

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Social media is both a blessing and curse. We often see employees blending their personal and professional lives in their social media accounts. In some businesses this makes sense. In most, it does not, unless one is part of the business’ social media team. However, social media is quickly emerging as the most effective outreach tool for any business. It’s where their clients and future clients spend many hours each day and consume information. And, companies can get so targeted and granular when using paid social media as a marketing and branding tool. Businesses should also conduct social media audits before hiring employees to avoid embarrassing situations in the future that could affect brand reputation. Employees with questionable behavior on social media become liabilities for employers and could hurt the bottom line. At Benworth, we are very active and proactive on social media.

Bernie Navarro, founder and president, Benworth Capital Partners

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Secocha doesn’t have specific rules around personal social media usage other than an expectation for our employees to bear in mind that they represent the organization through their words/actions.

Sanket Parekh, founder and managing partner, Secocha Ventures

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Whether you work for a private and/or a public company, I encourage employees and executives to be measured on any and all comments made on social media (think “measure twice, cut once”). Try not to send messages in the heat of the moment. Social media is very powerful in its ability to reach so many people directly so don’t waste your comments without thoroughly thinking what you want to communicate. Don’t send out what you might regret when it will live forever!

Julio Ramirez, president, CEO, JEM Global Consulting

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Very simple. Don’t post anything that is going to embarrass you or the organization. Use good judgment. Social media posts have consequences.

Evelio C. Torres, president, CEO, Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade and Monroe

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THE MIAMI HERALD CEO ROUNDTABLE IS A WEEKLY FEATURE THAT APPEARS IN BUSINESS MONDAY OF THE MIAMI HERALD. Meet the current members of the roundtable.

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