Thursday, September 19, 2013

Social Media Policy: What Should it Include?

By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
So… you’ve finally decided that it’s time to develop a social media policy for your business. Don’t worry; you’re not late to the party. A recent study shows that 31 percent of businesses still do not have a social media policy in place. Crazy, right?

Drafting a policy doesn’t have to be overwhelming and there are lots of online resources that can help. Mashable recently posted a column by Sharlyn Laubry that includes the 10 things that should go into a social media policy. It’s a great article, and I would suggest reading it because it not only gives you concrete examples of what to say, but is also provides ideas on how to say it in a way that employees will be able to get behind and support. 

Here are a few of what I think are the “biggies” to include in a policy:

  • Keep the policy short and easy to understand so your employees will actually read it. What good is a policy that goes unread? 
  • If an employee is using a company or personal account and is posting about the company, they need to know from the beginning that they are responsible for the content they write and share. 
  • Your audience is larger than you think. Other people like potential clients or customers could be listening in on the conversation. 
  • Think before you post: Could what I say online impact me or the company in a negative way? 
  • Give credit where credit is due. Just because something is online doesn’t mean its okay to use it freely without giving credit. Copyright laws apply even online! 
  • Outline the course of action an employee should take if a conversation gets out of control. Most often, that involves bringing in someone on the leadership team of the company to help respond or to take the conversation off line. 
  • Employees need to know what they are allowed to share. Include references to any confidentiality policy the company may have.
A social media policy is an important document a company should have in its toolbox. But don’t just leave it at that. Social media changes every day so be sure to review the policy often as new platforms and tools become available.

Does your company have a social media policy? What does it include? What would you add? 

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