Social Media Policy

As we progress from a social media trend into the cutting-edge style of communicating in business, should employers be adopting a social media policy and/or incorporating standards into already established ethics policies?

There have been numerous reports of employee abuse of social media networking while at work and faux pas posts made about the companies they work for. Needless to say these result in either losing a job and/or embarrassing/damaging exposure that harm business reputation. Take Dominos for example when a video was posted on YouTube showing employees violating health codes in a Domino’s kitchen. The video amassed millions of views and resulted in countless negative posts from customers but Dominos was ill prepared to address the situation in a timely manner because of their lack of online social media presence wherein the relentless havoc was stirring.

On the other hand, businesses who have entered into the social media arena for the opportunity and benefit of building brand awareness need social media guidelines for the employees who represent their culture online to remain within boundaries and/or customer service limits.

For a social media policy to be effective and successful, businesses need to be transparent and should have social media policies in place, providing clear examples of what is/is not acceptable use of social media.  For employees to be held accountable for their actions while in the workplace, mutual consent must be obtained for monitoring and taking action if unacceptable behavior is exhibited by an employee.

CareerBuilder has plunged into the social media frenzy and their brand is plugged in many of the top sites with resourceful information. One of their resources I highly recommend, although targeted for recruiting, there are tips anyone can apply to their social media use. Including their social media policy that they offer to use as a template for your own to build on:

Courtesy of CareerBuilder ~ Setting Up A Social Media Policy
Afraid of saying – or tweeting – the wrong thing?  Creating a social media policy – and communicating that policy throughout the organization – will direct  responsible employee engagement across social networking platforms. When creating your social media policy, remember two very important things:

Make sure your employees know that you have the right to monitor employee use of social media regardless of location (i.e. at work on a company computer or on personal time with a home computer).

Remind employees that company policies on anti-harassment, ethics and company loyalty extend to all forms of communication (including social media) – both inside and outside the workplace – and that bad mouthing the organization or colleagues online can lead to consequences at work.
Below is Careerbuilder’s Social Media Policy – feel free to use it as a template for your own.

  • Consider Your Persona:  If you are blogging about CB or the work you do at CB, make that clear and identify yourself. If you identify yourself as a CB employee on a personal blog or social media page, whatever you say will be associated to you as an employee. What you write about can be read by anyone and will be perceived as a reflection on the company, its employees, its leadership, its owners and its clients. This includes blind/anonymous posts using name such as “CB person,” “CBconsultant,” “CBemp,” etc.
  • Play in Your Sandbox:  Write what you know; be current and be relevant. This is the best way to be interesting and garner followers. Don’t speak about an area outside of your expertise; you risk being challenged, posting redundant  content and negating the other CB messaging out there.
  • Respect Others: Do not use personal insults, obscenities  or engage in conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace or anywhere else. Be considerate of other people’s sensitivities to certain topics like politics or religion.
  • Don’t Pick Fights: If you see CB represented in an unfavorable light, disagree with someone’s opinion or think a member of the media, analyst or blogger has misrepresented  CB, do not make unnecessary or unproductive comments. Check with Leadership or Corporate Communications teams to see what their response is, if any. If they choose not to respond, but give you the ok to do so, be factual and respectful in your response.
  • Don’t Talk About Competition: Period.  Again, leave that to the Leadership or Corporate Communications teams.
  • Internet Vs Intranet: Remember that public blogs are just that: public. Don’t use a public forum as an intranet.

For the full CareerBuilder Social Media eBook, click here!

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