With the internet and social media being a prominent place to network with friends and family, share photos and happy moments as well as voicing complaints and sadness, it’s important for businesses to develop a social media policy to implement in their place of business. In doing so, companies can protect the reputation and credibility of their business while also being able to monitor the time employees spend on these outlets, increasing productivity at work.
What is a Social Media Policy?
A social media policy is a set of rules and guidelines that employees who create or contribute to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds or other social media outlets, should be expected to follow.
These guidelines should cover all social media platforms such as:
- Social Networking Sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare)
- Micro-blogging sites (Twitter)
- Blogs (including company and personal blogs as well as comments)
- Video and Photo Sharing Websites (Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo)
- Online Encyclopedias (Wikipedia, Sidewiki)
- Forums and Discussion Boards (Google Groups, Yahoo! Groups, LinkedIn Groups)
What Should a Social Media Policy Contain?
All social media policies should include criteria for personal and company use. The policy is necessary because everyone reflects and the image and perception of the company in which they work for. Some of the areas to be included would pertain to:
- Being Responsive – Following up with contacts within 24 hours of comments made directly to personnel
- Being Confidential – Steering away from posting anything about ones company or customers without permission from management
- Being Real – Being transparent and not taking one a different persona
- Building a Following – Promoting oneself by finding and sharing interesting information to their personal or professional target audience
- Knowing They’re Always “On” – Not voicing comments about the company or co-workers, as it’s not a place for complaining
- Being Respectful – Not saying any harsh remarks that are off topic or offensive.
- Always Giving Proper Credit – Crediting sources when posting a link or information gathered from another source
- Staying Focused – Keeping everything work related while not interfering with primary responsibilities
- Confidentiality – Not leaking breaking company or customer news via social outlets
In order to effectively write a social media policy, take time to identify important areas of interest. Companies should define a clear voice and persona that represents that of the brand’s purpose and mission.