Whenever I’m conducting a social media workshop, I include a discussion about company-wide social media policies. A lot of the time, attendees state they don’t have an established social media policy or that they are pursuing creating one. And much of the discussion is around telling employees what they can and cannot post, as well as how to respond to negative posts or comments.
But before getting into the employee “do’s and don’ts,” policy creators would be wise to take a step back and approach the social media policy strategically. Social Media Examiner has an excellent post on this topic — “How to Write a Social Media Policy to Empower Employees”, which raises several good points for creating a social media policy that engages and empowers employees instead of chastening them or putting them in defensive position, which may cause some employees to abandon any work-related social media completely. Some important points that stood out to me are:
- Are there already policies in place that would cover social media? Many human resources policies that address workplace language, conduct, harassment, etc., probably already exist and simply need to be extended to social media platforms. No need to reinvent the wheel.
- Research current federal and state laws. There are already laws on the books regarding endorsements and disclosures. Make sure you’re in compliance. And some industries have more regulatory oversight than others.
- Establish parameters for personal use. Can employees Tweet while on the clock? Can company equipment be used for personal social media use? What are the implications? What is the impact to productivity? How will you monitor it?
- Get departmental buy-in and keep the communications about the policies in short, digestible nuggets. And keep it in plain language, not legalese.
- Accentuate the positive. Once you launch the policy, highlight people who are using social media effectively according to the policy.
Read the full Social Media Examiner post here.
Do you have a social media policy in place? If so, what’s working best and what would you like to see improve? Post in the comment section!