Social Media Policy

You know how your parents always said that their rules were meant to protect you, not just Hoover out all the fun you ever hoped to find in life? That would work for having a social media policy in place at your office as well.

Nearly everyone fogging a mirror is doing something in social media. If you would like to give yourself a few chest pains, just ask your attorney what your liability exposure is in this area. It is not pretty.

A social media policy sets out the rules of how you expect those employed by your company to conduct themselves. It protects them by giving clear guidelines. It protects the company as the employee is less likely to make some ill-informed mistake.

Key elements of the social media policy:
• Definition of social media, examples of the tools (you could update this daily and not keep up)
• Social media’s formal / informal role in the business
• Basic etiquette and standards that apply to all social media outlets involving:
o Material that could be considered harassment or discriminatory
o Unauthorized use of confidential client or company information
o Difficulties with opinion, humor, definition of suitable material
o Wanted / unwanted requests to join, friend, link
o Personal v professional information
o Vulnerability to the criminal element
o Transparency and credibility
o Approval in posting client or company information
o Site monitoring
o Handling disagreements
o Timeliness
o Value of shared information
• Facts about specific social media outlets, particularly Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace

Social media has come alongside more traditional means in how businesses communicate internally and externally. Understanding and effectively directing your organization as to its role in the business, how employees may, and may not participate, and what they should look out for will not only spare your business costly trouble, it can accelerate your business goals.