Most individuals are now linked to at least one social media account, whether personal or professional. The regulations relevant to social media, however, are just forming. Many large businesses have developed policies to encourage and monitor social media posts that might affect the business. Developing a social media policy for your workers can promote positive uses of social media while assembling boundaries that all parties are aware of.
Developing a Social Media Policy for Your Business
- What is a Social Media Policy?
- Why Do You Need a Social Media Policy?
- What Is Social Media Account Ownership?
- What Is Brand Identity?
- How to Prevent Security Breaches
- How Can My Business Avoid a PR Crisis?
- How to Make Hiring and Firing Decisions
- What Are Role Definitions?
- What Are Common FTC Considerations?
- Should My Policy Contain Legal Guidance?
- How Should I Begin to Develop a Policy?
- What Are Some Standard Issues for Social Media Policies?
- What Should My Social Media Policy Contain?
- Should I Consult an Attorney When Creating a Social Media Policy?
What is a Social Media Policy?
A social media policy provides policies for your company’s social media use. It manages your business’s official communication channels and establishes policies for employee social channels.
Your social media policy should be transparent, straightforward, and written in plain language. Check and revise your policy often to mirror current social media patterns.
Why Do You Need a Social Media Policy?
A well-drafted policy helps safeguard your business’s online reputation, decreases legal and security issues, and guides employees on what to share about your company in their professional and personal accounts. There are multiple ways a social media policy aids your company.
What Is Social Media Account Ownership?
A social media policy specifies who owns social media accounts and content. It also expresses straightforward expectations about who can post what on behalf of the business. You should also determine who can use the company name in social media handles to help evade legal conflicts down the road.
What Is Brand Identity?
A social media policy permits you to maintain your brand identity. When you specify who can post on behalf of the business, you regulate the message. You don’t have to worry about weakening your brand or confusing clients with off-topic messaging.
Your social media policy also contains the graphics used to characterize the business. Pinpoint precise images, fonts, colors, logos, or taglines your company uses. Demonstrate how to use these files properly.
You pay workers to do a distinct job, not chat with their buddies. When workers use social media during work hours, they waste their time, and productivity suffers.
Specify when and how workers may use social media during business hours. If you intend to monitor social media activity, communicate your intention in the policy.
How to Prevent Security Breaches
There are many social media hazards. Accounts can be hacked, taken over, frozen, or deleted. A social media policy helps guard against security breaches that jeopardize your company.
Determine who manages passwords, software updates, and account security. Monitor unattended social accounts and be mindful of imposter accounts. Encourage workers to verify links and websites before downloading files. Restrict participation in games and quizzes, which are commonly used to access confidential data. Also, be sure to alert workers to phishing tactics.
How Can My Business Avoid a PR Crisis?
The immediate objective of a social media policy is to discourage public relations problems. Appropriate training on the policy and best practices is key. Ensure your workers comprehend the dangers of posting contentious ideas on social media and encourage them to alert you to potential troubles.
Your policy should contain a management plan to deal with any issues that may occur.
How to Make Hiring and Firing Decisions
Many organizations check candidates’ social media profiles before completing a hiring decision. Examining candidates’ public profiles is permitted, but the social media policy should describe how you use social media in hiring decisions. Express that you do not make base hiring decisions on religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation.
You may also need to terminate an employee for social media posts that are unlawful, dishonest, or violate your code of conduct. A plainly stated social media policy authorizes you to terminate workers who violate the agreement. Include specific examples of behavior that infringes on company policies.
What Are Role Definitions?
Your social media policy should specify who can post on behalf of the business. It may assign specific roles for each worker, such as daily posts and engagement, customer service, or security.
Workers should comprehend their roles and understand where to go for assistance. The policy should also express who handles education and training.
What Are Common FTC Considerations?
Your social media policy should also cover positive comments and endorsements of your company. The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees online advertising, demands transparency when promoting things online.
When workers post positive comments about your company, they must reveal their relationship to the business. Provide workers with guidance on how to divulge their relationship with your company. Unless they have a business handle, they should disclose their relationship in the body of the post.
Should My Policy Contain Legal Guidance?
A well-crafted social media policy provides guidance for complying with copyright laws when using third-party content. It also contains facts about protecting client privacy and confidential company information.
How Should I Begin to Develop a Policy?
When you begin to create a social media policy, it will be useful to get several different people’s input. A human resources professional can advise on potential employment issues. Your CEO can provide information on how the business would like to use social media, and people with knowledge of the social media networks can ensure the policy is appropriate. A lawyer can also add perspective to confirm that employment laws are not transgressed.
Social media can be a strong tool for businesses. Taking an optimistic and pleasant approach to social media use can be beneficial to both your business and your workers.
What Are Some Standard Issues for Social Media Policies?
There are several possible problems to think about when creating social media policies:
- Consider whether your company wants to promote healthy use of social media among workers or simply monitor for misuse.
- Be mindful of employment disputes that may arise from statements or content posted through social media, including pictures and other media. Many social media legal quarrels revolve around employee terminations.
- Ownership over postings and accounts is also a frequent issue, particularly where employees use a seemingly personal account to post content on behalf of or promote the company.
What Should My Social Media Policy Contain?
When creating your social media policy, you should first consider your company’s relationship with various forms of social media. This will help guide you and create a policy that works with your company’s goals. Additionally, consider the following points:
- Remind employees that private and confidential information should not be disclosed. For example, HIPAA, trade secrets, and intellectual property policies apply to personal online accounts.
- Give examples of things that workers should not post. Cover topics such as improper conduct, substance abuse, or offensive comments attributed to the corporation.
- Consider all existing social media networks and formats, including video and photos.
- Be adaptable to accommodate new forms of social media.
- Define ownership of social media accounts and posts.
Should I Consult an Attorney When Creating a Social Media Policy?
Many examples of social media policies exist online. While it may not be critical to consult an attorney when creating your policy, it would be a good idea to have an attorney experienced in business law examine the policy. A contract attorney can help ensure you have followed the fast-evolving law surrounding social media and provide suggestions that you may have overlooked.
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