When creating a social media policy for a company, there are several best practices to consider. Here are some key points to include:
Purpose of the policy
Use the first section of the policy to outline the intent of the policy and involved parties. Explain why the policy is needed and be transparent about why your company needs it. Provide a breakdown of people to whom the policy applies, when it applies, and where it applies.
Include any subsequent guidelines to:
- Protect everyone involved. Emphasize the importance of maintaining confidentiality regarding company information, coworkers' information, intellectual property, customer data, and trade secrets.
- Distinguish personal and professional accounts. Encourage employees to maintain a clear distinction between their personal and professional social media accounts.
- Address legal and regulatory considerations. Consider legal and regulatory requirements that may impact social media usage within your industry or region. Ensure compliance with laws such as data protection, privacy, advertising standards, and employment regulations.
Cover social content and behavior needs
Include anything related to social networking, not just the content shared. Comments on company posts, likes, shares, and more are all part of the advocacy program. Make sure the policy covers safety in all forms of relations and content while social networking.
- Outline acceptable and unacceptable content and behavior. Specify prohibited actions such as harassment, bullying, discriminatory language, and sharing confidential information.
- Promote respectful communication. Encourage employees to engage in constructive dialogue, avoid personal attacks or inflammatory language, and treat others with respect.
- Respect copyrights and intellectual property. Remind employees to respect copyrights and intellectual property rights of others and to seek permissions and provide credit when posting content.
- Be transparent and honest. Coach employees on how to disclose any potential conflicts of interest and avoid misrepresentation or misleading information when engaging in online conversations related to the company or its products.
Treat the policy as a living document
Once the policy is published, consider the following actions.
- Regularly update the policy. Social media platforms and practices evolve rapidly, so it's important to review and update the policy periodically to reflect the latest trends, technologies, and challenges.
- Train employees. Provide training and education on social media best practices, online etiquette, and the potential risks associated with social media usage. Ensure employees are aware of the policy, its guidelines, and consequences for non-compliance.
- Make it accessible. Allow anyone to find it readily and review it often.
- Monitoring and enforcement. Consider legal and regulatory requirements when establishing how you will monitor social media activities and enforce non-compliance.
Remember each company's social media policy may vary depending on its industry, culture, and specific requirements. It's crucial to tailor the policy to suit your organization's needs while aligning it with legal and ethical guidelines.