Simple is best if you are contemplating writing a Social Media Policy. Australian press release distribution company Newsmaker has conducted extensive research into over 100 Social Media Policies written for various sizes and types of organisation, including businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. Here are our tips.
Provide Context Relevant to your Business or Organisation
Introduce your Social Media Policy with an overview of why the document is necessary. Don’t stick your head in the sand. Acknowledge that your staff and management are likely to be participating in social media. Also recognise that social media plays an important role in sharing information and can be used to enhance your business.
Acknowledge Threats Without Scaremongering
Acknowledge the threats that may come from social media and that not all social media are created equal. Facebook may be maintained in a relatively private state; Twitter and YouTube are generally very public forums; in LinkedIn, professionalism is paramount; and your people may also write their own blogs on any number of topics.
The core purpose of your Social Media Policy is to define your employees’ responsibilities in clear terms. You could have a lawyer draw up or at least review these terms, but a more down to earth, friendly tone is considered to be appropriate. Here are some suggestions for the ground you might cover.
Please note that opinions on social media are subjective -- this is not intended as a definitive list but as points for discussion by your team.
“Our Company” Social Media Policy
- You should use commonsense when participating in social media – just as you would not make public disparagements about your employer on a public stage, you must not make statements that could be construed as inflammatory, defamatory or disparaging towards either your employer or any third party that may have an impact on your employer.
- You must not break any law while participating in social media, including refraining from bullying and harassment.
- You must beware of crossing the line between personal and professional information. You must not imply that your comments represent the opinions of your employer.
- You must not reveal confidential company information on social media.
- You must not reveal any information of a business-critical nature, even if this information has not been designated as confidential.
- Employees should respect their employer’s priorities when they are at work, and this includes minimizing the personal use of social media during work hours.
- You should protect your security by using strong passwords and changing them regularly.
- You should avoid online conflicts and (your organisation) believes the best response to “trolling” is not to inflame the situation by responding.
- If applicable, you may include a statement such as: “Should you use your business computer for social media purposes, you must be aware that these may be monitored in the same way any information on the network may be monitored.”
- Should you infringe on or breach any of the above conditions, this may result in suspension or termination of your employment or contract. If you are in any doubt about posting a comment, picture or video, DONT DO IT!
- This policy may be reviewed and updated at any time.
We hope these points are helpful - please get in touch if you'd like more information.