Why does your business need a social media policy and social media guidelines for online activity? It’s simple, it’s an easy way to protect your business, your brand and your employees at the same time. Social media policies and guidelines simply outline the company’s expectations and principles in any social media communication.
You may have heard about the banker that got fired after posting to Facebook, or the Nestle debacle, or even the recent Kenneth Cole tweet mistake. These are all examples where a little foresight into the actions and consequences would have been helpful to say the least. They are funny to read about, but when they affect your business or someone you know….well no one wants that. The good thing is, with a little planning and awareness, you can avoid most mistakes.
Below, we have provided two different templates. The first is used to set internal social media guidelines and expectations for employees. The key is to not discourage your employees from using social media, but to provide them with guidelines so they understand how to avoid mistakes – like speaking on behalf of the company during a crisis or revealing client or company information.
The second template is for a public facing social media policy so your community understands your policies on things like comments and posts. This way, if you have to delete a comment due to profane or obscene language, you have clearly set this policy in advance. Hopefully, you won’t have to remove obscene comments from your community on your Facebook wall or blog, but should you have to, you can refer to this policy. This is why we recommend posting it on your website, so you can reference the link. If you have social media marketing in place, we recommend you also develop community guidelines like these.
Internal Social Media Guidelines Template
Social Media Policy Template
As a disclaimer, I am not an attorney, nor can I guarantee that these examples will be a perfect fit for your employees or business. In certain cases, and depending on the sensitivity of your business, you may consider a more targeted approach and implement several social media policies to address acceptable employee activities, internal practices, and confidentiality for different social media channels. Here are a few common examples:
- Employee Code of Conduct Online
- Employee Personal Blogging and Disclosure Policy
- Employee Personal Facebook Usage Policy
- Employee Personal Twitter Usage Policy
- Employee Personal Social Media Usage Policy
- Corporate Blogging Policy
- Corporate Commenting Policy
- Corporate Facebook Policy
- Corporate Twitter Account Policy
- Corporate Social Media Policy
- Corporate Security and Password Policy
Here is a link to the Social Media Governance site and their online database of social media policies that provides a laundry list of examples.
Also, I do suggest consulting an attorney if you have concerns about where you need to edit your policy or if you should be using several social media policies.
I hope you you find these resources a time saver. Please download them, edit them as needed, share them, and let me know if you found them useful. Your feedback and comments are encouraged, please let me know your thoughts.
Of course, these policies and guidelines are part of your overall social media plan. Need help creating your social media strategy? Contact us to learn more.