I recently completed a file for a client in need of a social media policy to guide his employees on acceptable use of sites such as Facebook and Twitter. As is often the case, the need was identified when a real-world issue arose. Specifically, after a company sponsored social event, employees posted a number of photos to Facebook which some in management felt created a false impression of the staff. The context of the photo was entirely innocent, and those in attendance would have know so, however those who simply viewed the photo might draw a different conclusion. This particular incident drew attention to the needs for clear guideance on what is and is not acceptable use of social media when it comes to company events, information and so on.
We have completed a policy that is now being implemented by that client, however this is a growing issue that all employers should be conscious of. Specifically, your Social Media Policy should include some of the following:
- Is the use of social media acceptable on “company time”?
- If so, is this limited to company-related postings etc. or personal as well?
- Who is permitted to represent the company online?
- What type of participation is acceptable, for what purpose and in what capacity?
- Are there confidentiality, privacy or other concerns that should be highlighted for your staff’s consideration?
- What guidelines do you expect staff to follow even in their personal use of social media?
- Are there specific situations, types of inquiries or topics that should never be discussed in the social media world?
- Who should employees seek out in your organization if they have questions about social media involvement?
- What consequences might be encountered if your policy is not complied with?
- Where should violations be reported to?
These are a few of the various considerations that should be addressed in your social media policy. If you have any questions or comments on how to draft or implement such a policy please do not hesitate to contact me or comment below.