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Three “Must Haves” for a Social Media Policy
Posted on April 25th 2011
As social media use grows in leaps and bounds, CEOs and HR departments everywhere instinctively cringe at the potential time employees could waste perusing Facebook or retweeting on Twitter. This can’t be a productive use of work time, or can it? And if social media use is allowed in the work place, how much is too much? No matter the industry, social media is being accessed all around us. As a result, every company must inevitably establish a social media policy.
Now where to begin? As you consider crafting your guidelines, here are three “must-haves” for any social media policy.
Positive Presentation. The minds of most employers immediately leap to what they don’t want their employees doing on online. But a negative policy could discourage all that your company could gain from constructive social media use. Don’t forget how much good can come from smart, authentic employee updates. Keep the policy wording positive, list more “cans” than “can’ts,” and encourage employees to share, retweet and “like” whenever it is appropriate.
Clear Expectations. Regardless of how your company uses social media, your policy should be made crystal clear. Identify each popular social media outlet and explain what use is acceptable at your company. Obviously, companies are held liable for their employees’ behavior so be sure to review the legal consequences of social media use. That said, if an employee understands the policy but misuses social media, his behavior and professional judgment should be called into question, not their online use.
Flexibility. Social media is evolving all the time. As a result, your policy should, too. Stay on top of what’s new with social media and how it is being used. If your policy needs to be changed, change it –but be sure that all of your employees are made aware. Maybe you could post the changes on your private employee Facebook group? It’s an idea.