Does Your Business Have a Social Media Policy?

An organization is known by its people. Whether your organization is present on Social Media or not, your employees are there already and they are talking. So, whatever your employees write/talk/share on social media represents your Organization. Do you have a social media policy in place to make sure your employees portray the right image of your organization?

It is important to have a social media policy & if you’re gearing up to create a social media policy of your own, here are ten steps to get started:

  1. Define “social media” clearly. That way you’ll avoid confusion about what exactly the Social Media Use Policy refers to. This includes what all platforms are included which are included in organization’s social media policy.
  2. Distinguish between “guidelines” and “policy.” Don’t confuse one for the other, because they are inherently different. Guidelines attempt to simplify a process, whereas policies are compulsory. Guidelines can be simple Steps or instructions to do social media the Right way while Policy are strict rules which must be followed.
  3. Document your goals and strategies. Share why your company or organization chooses to use social media. Make your goals and the strategies known as part of the policy document to help ensure that everyone is on the same page with the company’s basic premise for using social media in the first place.
  4. Differentiate between utilities. If you have guidelines or policies associated with specific social utilities, networks or resources (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, wikis, company-owned online communities) identify them by name and be specific about what policies and guidelines apply to each.
  5. Describe what’s allowed. Explain what is considered proprietary, confidential and always inappropriate to share through social media. Don’t give a vague description, be specific with details.
  6. Delineate roles. If everyone goes about making statements on behalf of organization, people would get confused about whom to believe. Make it clear  as to who is authorized to speak on behalf of the company and who isn’t. Also, identify the chain-of-command for notifying someone internally about an opportunity or issue that needs to be addressed via social media.
  7. Disclosures and disclaimers are a must. Be clear in your policy about what is required if employees are engaging in social media and what’s permissible for them to comment on company or industry-related matters as private citizens. For instance, you might suggest a disclaimer along the lines of “This is my personal blog. All views expressed here are solely mine and not those of my current or past employers.”
  8. Detail disciplinary procedures. Address what happens if the rules aren’t followed. Again, be specific about the consequences.
  9. Disseminate the policy. Give the policy to your existing employees, new hires and even finalists for job openings. Include it in your employee handbook. In this way employees know that organization is serious about Social Media and its use
  10. Don’t forget to lead by example. If you are on a higher position, make sure you follow the guidelines and policies strictly so as to be a role model for the subordinates to follow.

 

For your reference here are some of the big organizations who have framed their Social Media Policy for their Employees to Follow:

Can your business can benefit from a having a Social Media Use Policy? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.

Image courtesy: Sean MacEntee

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