One way to help safeguard your organization is to publish an official corporate social media policy for your employees.



Do you know which of your employees are active in social media?



Do you know what they’re saying about your company?



Have you given them any guidelines as to what types of content are and are not acceptable?



Will employees be allowed or forbidden to participate on Twitter for personal reasons during business hours?



How will that impact productivity, either positively or negatively?



Who can and cannot participate in social media in an official capacity on behalf of your company?




What a Social Media Policy should contain


Your social media policy should begin by defining the term “social media” and detailing why a policy is needed in the first place.



That way, your employees will better understand that the policy is not intended to restrict their activities online; rather, to protect the company from liability and brand damage.



Explain how the company could be scarred by false or derogatory information on social media networks and how that information becomes a permanent part of the record on the Internet.


A well-written social media policy should also detail everything that your employees should and should not do when posting content online.


It should make it clear to the employee that he/she can or cannot do or say about the company and its products, services, vendors, partners, or themselves.



There are a few more obvious rules that should be included in your policy as well, such as forbidding employees to:



*  Divulge proprietary or confidential information about the company, its products, and/or its services, including financial data, pricing, strategy, and the like



*  Discuss or link to your competitors



*  Talk directly to the media (those discussions should be referred to the corporate marketing department)



*  Use vulgar words, ethnic or racial slurs, or derogatory comments of any kind



The policy should also detail the consequences that will occur when an employee doesn’t follow the instructions detailed in the policy.



It should also cover the responsibility of an employee to report the actions of another employee who violates any of the terms of policy.



Before publishing your social media policy, it should be submitted to your human resources department, legal department (or corporate attorney), and your executive team to review it.




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