Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's Allowed?

"I hate my boss."
"Our organization lost so much money last quarter."
"I heard our owner is in negotiations to sell our organization."
"Tom is going to be fired tomorrow because he's been taking company office supplies."

Would you be okay with employees posting this information on a social network site like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or a blog? If not, you need to consider creating a social media policy.

When people hear/read 'Social Media Policy' they tend to get intimidated and don't even know where to start. It really doesn't need to be an elaborate document. It simply needs to state your organization's stand on social media use and what is expected of your employees.

Here are some helpful tips for creating your social media policy:
  1. Start with a simple statement like, "While you are employed by ABC Organization, you are expected to adhere to the following social media guidelines."
  2. Personal social networking is not allowed during business hours. Your lunch hour and breaks are exceptions.
  3. Reading blogs as part of keeping up with our industry is permissible. Please be reasonable with the amount of time you spend.
  4. Because you are a reflection of ABC Organization, we request that you turn your privacy settings on in Facebook, MySpace, etc. Do not feel obligated or pressured to add co-workers or clients as friends.
  5. Protect your job and professional reputation by being respectful of your employer and not posting derogatory, confidential, or competition-sensitive information.
  6. If you author a blog, please include a statement that the views expressed in your blog are yours and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC Organization.
  7. If you are in sales and on LinkedIn, please privacy protect your connections. ABC Organization works hard to respect our clients' privacy and secure them as our clients.
  8. If you have any questions about social media use, please discuss it with your supervisor.
Your social media policy may be more elaborate. You may choose to break it out into sections like Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook/MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, etc. You may also want to outline rules for employees that are in charge of social media on behalf of your organization. But the most important thing is to get one in place to protect your organization and your employees.

As more and more small businesses and organizations are using social media as a business tool, the need for a social media policy becomes more important. We'll continue this conversation in future posts.

123 Social Media offers social media policy examples at http://123socialmedia.com/2009/01/23/social-media-policy-examples/. You may find valuable information in these examples that you could include in your own social media policy.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this information, Laurie. We have been struggling with this topic and now we have something clear cut to take to the Board.