What Should Be Included In Your Companies Social Media Policy?

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It is important for every company to have a social media policy in place. Depending on the size of your company or organization, your policy may be more or less detailed.

It is amazing to think that only 1 in every 3 companies has a social media policy in place. Of course as social media becomes a main-stream marketing tactic, more and more businesses with start to see the importance of having a writing social media policy.

Overall Philosophy and Goals

It should be clear to all employees of your organization as to why your company is implementing a social media policy. It should contain messaging and an overall philosophy that is consistent with your organization culture and other policies.

Encourage Social Media Best Practices

Employees within your organization will all have different levels of experience with social media. That is why it will be important for your employees to be trained on the best practices of monitoring and engaging in social media.

For each social media platform, it is encouraged to offer tips and examples of how people engage.

Be Honest and Transparent

Do not pretend to be someone you are not. Use your real name, job title, and experiences when interacting with people. People are becoming more savvy online and can tell if you are full of crap or telling the truth. So be transparent and always tell the truth. Also, it helps when you discuss topics that you are knowledgeable, making social media fun!

Use Common Sense and Good Judgment

I know it may be dumb to say this, but using good judgment and common sense is probably the best advice you can give your employees. If you think what you are doing may be against company policies or could have a negative impact, you probably want to stop.

Confidential and Proprietary Information

It will be important to disclose company information that is proprietary and should not become public. Typically industry secrets, proposals/contracts, internal processes, client lists, website statistics, and revenue figures are all things that most companies want to keep confidential.

Engagement During Work Hours

Face it, unless you have specific websites blocked or install tracking software on employees computers, they are going to spend time playing around on the web. So you will want to have guidelines and/or limitations as to the type of websites that are work appropriate. In my personal opinion if someone wants to check their Facebook account during lunch or even get their personal email 2-3 times a day, that should be ok. As long as you are not effecting your work or substituting work time for personal tasks.

Online Identity

Many employees will have personal blogs and websites that they maintain on their personal time. It will be important to identify the different between a personal identity and corporate identity. For example, if someone maintains a blog that discusses controversial topics, you would not necessarily what your employee to leave his business contact information. This could be tied back to the company and create a potential area of concern.

Show Examples

One of the best ways to preach great social media, it to show examples of good and bad uses of social media.

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson is the creator of StayOnSearch, a blog dedicated to Marketing Professionals, SEO's, and Business Owners. He also is the President of Search Creatively,... Read Full Bio
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  • Use common sense and good judgment. Says it all.

  • cvilleroger

    I think you meant “Company's” not “Companies” in your title.

    Use common sense. Does that mean you don't consult your company's lawyer on the sm policy?

  • Mark have you didn't realize Title name.

  • Social Media is a huge part of daily life these days and will continue to grow, so yes it is important for a company to have a Social Media Policy. In my opinion allowing employees on break time to access their social media outlets is fine. A bigger deal looks to me to be the Online Identity, and for which sites is the business identity being used? Viable sites with good topics good conversation won't affect the business negatively, but common sense needs to be at the forefront!

  • I agree, common sense and good judgement are the key. And if the company doesn't trust its employees to have these qualities, just monitor them or think why you would want to have such employees in the first place.

  • I've been trying to get several companies to create formal social media policies. One company in particular had me launch their intro into social media, but when we tried to promote the launch of our fan page, everyone e-mailed me back almost screaming “we're blocked from Facebook”. I think some company leaders fear that productivity will go down, when, in reality, marketing goes up! Catch 22. Also, did you mention to make the policy short & sweet? So many people hate reading these days (except us social media enthusiasts!) More legal copy/jargon = less eyeballs. Remember your employee handbook? Try to make it more simple than that, and a lot shorter.

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