10 things your social media policy should cover

As organizations migrate further into the digital world, employees will cover a wide range of aptitude and experience using social media.

Some employees will be early adopters that broadcast ideas and conversation 24/7 with smartphones and wireless tablets, while other employees will struggle to adopt simple online tools.

The wide spectrum of aptitude and experience doesn’t have a correlation to the roles and responsibilities within the company, a senior executive may have trouble using e-mail while a mail room clerk may be a digital rock star.

As essential cogs in your business, your corporate social media plan can utilize the following ten tips to understand what you should be thinking about in a social media policy.

Employee & Employer Perspective

One of the most critical things you can do is establish a simple breakdown of why your social media policy is good from both an employee and employer perspective. A good policy revolves around a team viewpoint of moving everyone in the right direction.

Criminal and Legal

Social media isn’t just about having fun. There are serious repercussions depending on local, state, federal, and international laws. Educate your employees on pitfalls they should avoid.

Privacy Policy

You need to think about privacy for your company, the employees, employee families, and consumers that interact with your organization. Almost every employee in your company has hundreds of online connections and most of them carry a phone with a camera. What they share as individuals has a big impact on the team.

Security and Spam

Employees using social media have dozens of passwords and usernames that they use at coffee shops, restaurants, and home environments. There are WIFI and mobile phone issues. What do they store on their phone or tablet? Your technology and legal team should give thought to preventable risks.

Regulation and Compliance

Every industry and type of business has different sets of rules to follow. Many employees stumble when they adopt ‘best practices’ from another industry and they don’t know any better until everyone in the company is racking up hefty fines and penalties. These regulatory and compliance issues also change depending on the role of the employee as a workforce, manager, executive, or advisory board member.

Employee Monitoring

Employees have both legal and personal expectations of privacy and monitoring. Proper communication about when, where, and why employees may be monitored helps avoid human resource and court room nightmares.

Abuse, Hate and Intolerance

These things are unacceptable in the business world, but some employees may be engaged in them anyway. Having an explicit statement about employee monitoring and the companies reaction to such activity will deter negative situations in the future.

Adult Content

The internet has a lot of content and it isn’t all kid friendly. Employees should be notified about acceptable language, use of search tools, what they share, and viewing of content when it relates to the company.

Controversial Topics

The public relations team knows there are certain things that shouldn’t be engaged with by anyone except senior staff who have been trained for the topic at hand. Noting conversation topics to avoid is an easy step for helping employees put their foot in your mouth.

Escalation Process

Everyone stumbles or has a situation arise they can’t handle. Give your employees a process for immediately referring issues to someone who can help them. Whenever possible make sure to include a ‘no harm, no foul’ statement that demonstrates your escalation process is going to help the employee and not harm them.  Include a ‘panic button’ with mobile phone and e-mail access to a response team that is available in an emergency.

Bonus Inclusion: Training & Certification Process

While a social media policy helps enforce a structure, it doesn’t necessarily help that structure evolve into an on-going business asset. Social media training elements should be offered on the above points to enable your employees to make stronger and better educated business decisions when the ‘policy’ wording doesn’t seem to fit.

Hopefully these tips help
along the way to success!


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