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What Should Your Social Media Policy Do?

 

Foster the Use of Social Media to the Company’s Advantage

A great social media policy details the ways an employee can use social media for both her advantage and that of the company, such as publicizing employee accomplishments, company developments, or connecting with clients via professional networking sites.

Reflect the Reality of Your Organization

There’s no point in carefully drafting a policy that a company won’t follow. Let the policy evolve from working practices, not the other way around. A policy not adhered to is more problematic than none at all.

Give Specifics

Give examples of things that cross the line and things that are acceptable to post on sites.

Be careful, though: The National Labor Relations Board staunchly protects the right of workers to discuss working conditions. If the policy is too restrictive, it can be held invalid.

Prohibit Disparaging Individuals; Prohibit Lying

These things serve no protected purpose and create conflict, not to mention bad karma.

Prohibit Sharing Confidential Information

Make sure each employee has signed a confidentiality agreement so the policy has teeth. Ideally, the confidentiality agreement also prohibits sharing sensitive information on social media sites. That is, the policies should directly complement and reinforce one another.

Prohibit Employees Using Social Media on Company Time

Delineate when employees may use personal social media accounts (not on working time), and remind employees they have no reasonable expectation of privacy when using company resources.

Detail the Consequences of Violating the Policy

Warn employees that they might be terminated for failing to follow the rules, particularly in cases of posting comments that might create a hostile work environment, for example.

 
Diana Maier