How to Write a Corporate Social Media Policy for Employees

A corporate social media policy serves as the starting point for an organization’s social media risk management. It goes beyond being a list of do’s and don’ts. The document is meant to serve as a source for educating employees on protecting the organization from the unintended misuse of social networks to the detriment of the organization. This policy often extends to cover blogs, wikis, message boards, chat rooms, online forums, and other sites/services that allow users to share information with others.

Social Media Markerboard - corporate social media policy

How to Lay the Groundwork

There are many ideas that are to be taken into consideration when developing a social media policy. First and foremost, it’s important to define what social media is to the company, and the purpose of the policy. This section should include the company’s strategy, goals, and how employees can achieve those goals.

 

Be Upfront

Make sure the policy is crystal clear on what kind of behavior is absolutely not allowed, and prohibited forms of communication. If their social media activity is going to be monitored, let it be known. Include any legal advice you have have received, along with correct clauses that tie into monitoring. Confidentiality, privacy, honesty/accuracy, respect, competition, and fair use are also points that must be included, as well as consequences if these were to be violated.

 

Provide Examples

Include images that demonstrate social media being used correctly and incorrectly by companies. This could include customer service engagement, commentary, and the sharing of images that are defamatory, libelous, or could create a hostile work environment. Some industries may be trickier to represent on social media than others, so assure them that when in doubt, to turn to a supervisor.

Meeting

Be Conscientious

It would be wise to include a section that states that employees should get appropriate permission before posting images of current or former employees, and business associates. They should also seek permission before using third-party copyrights, trademarks, service marks, and other forms of copyrighted material and intellectual property.

 

The Final Touch

Last but not least, for documentation purposes, there needs to be a section where the employee signs the policy, which indicates that they have fully read and understood it. Upon them signing it, make it clear that their personal social media accounts must be kept separate from the corporate social media accounts, and if they are to post material that involves anything tied to the company, it’s recommended they include a disclaimer that their postings are their own, and don’t represent the company’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

 

Bear in mind – it doesn’t matter how beautifully crafted the social media policy is, if employees aren’t trained on its content.

 



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