Your company may not be active in social media however your employees are probably social media actives. It is best to consider creating an effective social media policy not only for the benefit of your employees but for the company as a whole.
Why And When to Create a Social Media Policy?
As company you must take into consideration that a social media policy is your first line of defense to mitigate possible problems that might confront both employer and employee.
A confidentiality agreement may not be sufficient and adding a few lines in the employee handbook to clarify that the confidentiality agreement covers employee interactions on social media sites might be helpful. However, it is strongly recommended to develop a separate and specific social media policy on file that is available and accessible to employees, to make them aware that a certain policy exists for them to exercise.
According to Jason Falls, a social media strategist at Social Media Explorer LLC in Louisville, Kentucky, companies should have several social media policies. He further said, "Part of the problem is that social media policy is a misnomer. It's more than just telling employees what they can and cannot do on company computers."
Fall suggests the following list of social media policies for companies to take into consideration creating:
Employee Code of Conduct for Online Communications
Employee Code of Conduct for Company Representation in Online Communications
Employee Blogging Disclosure Policy
Employee Facebook Usage Policy
Employee Personal Blog Policy
Employee Personal Social New york Policy
Employee Personal Twitter Policy
Employee LinkedIn Policy
Corporate Blogging Policy
Corporate Blog Use Policy
Corporate Blog Post Approval Process
Corporate Blog Commenting Policy
Corporate Facebook Brand Page Usage Policy
Corporate Facebook Public Comment/Messaging Policy
Corporate Twitter Account Policy
Corporate YouTube Policy
Corporate YouTube Public Comment Policy
Company Password Policy
In addition, Falls said that "while it may seem frivolous to spell out policies for every social network, that's not quite the point. Different networks have different implications for different companies."
A company must consider the important approaches in creating a social media policy. First, you can write one complete social media policy that addresses all currently available social mediums. Second, you can write polices as you need them. To give an example, if your company doesn't have a social media presence on YouTube you may not need to address YouTube and video usage. However when your business grows you can add YouTube on your policy later.
Mario Sundar, community evangelist at LinkedIn points out that there are two broad reasons on the importance of having a set of social media guidelines for every company. According to him, the reasons are crisis management and / or brand opportunity. Sundar says, "Social media may be a huge opportunity for your employees to help build your company's brand, but let's not forget that there also exists a tremendous risk for individual employees to inadvertently damage the company's brand and by defining a set of guidelines you help mitigate that risk."
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