A social media policy can be a company's first line of defense to mitigate risk for both employer and employee. You may already have a confidentiality agreement but it might not be enough.
Adding a few lines in the employee handbook to clarify that the confidentiality agreement covers employee interactions on social media sites might suffice.
It is advised to create a separate social media policy to have something specific on file and accessible to employees and that they are aware of the policies existence.
What You Should Include
Social media is about sharing and collaboration.
Before creating a policy, identify the "social media evangelists" from within your company and ask them to collaborate and help craft your social media guidelines. Including employees in the process creates internal advocates for the policy.
The policy should be more about what employees can do and best practices for social media use versus all the things employees can't or shouldn't do on social media.
When crafting a policy, be sure to:
Familiarize employees with the employment agreement and policies included in the employee handbook.
State that the policy applies to multi-media, social networking websites, blogs and wikis for both professional and personal use.
Internet postings should not disclose any information that is confidential or proprietary to the company or to any third party that has disclosed information to the company
If an employee comments on any aspect of the company's business they must clearly identify themselves as an employee and include a disclaimer, such as "the views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of (your companies name)."
Internet postings must respect copyright, privacy, fair use, financial disclosure, and other applicable laws.
Employees should neither claim nor imply that they are speaking on the company's behalf.
Corporate blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc., could require approval when the employee is posting about the company and the industry.
That the company reserves the right to request certain subjects are avoided, withdraw certain posts, and remove inappropriate comments.
Make Sure Your Employees Understand and Follow Your Policy
Include it in your employee manual, post it on your company intranet site. And add follow-up procedures to ensure that the policy is being followed properly.
Send monthly or quarterly e-mails reminding employees about the importance of the policy and where to find it
Make a list of all social media participants and regularly monitoring their online activities.