Creating a policy for your employees participation in social media should be a priority. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube have exploded. Millions of people have signed up and are using the social networks daily.
If you think your employees aren’t using social media, you’re wrong.
Companies large and small are increasing their social media involvement and many are encouraging their employees to join them.
Conversations are occurring about your company, your products and your industry. People are talking about your competitors and your customers. You can’t ignore the new digital culture. But you need to establish guidelines for your employees’ usage.
Every company has a employee handbook, but not very many have been updated with social media policies.
Start by examining your company’s code of conduct policies, information technology policies and ethics policies. Also look at company information policy. These can be adapted for online users.
If you are a heavily regulated industry, such as a bank or law firm, be sure and look at any social media policies that your been adopted in your industry such as your bar association.
For example, legal firms need to consider when it comes to expressing opinions about anything having to do with the law, law firm employees are in a special position and have some limitation that other industries do not have.
Statements in public forums may inadvertently create an attorney-client relationship, and may also violate the rules prohibiting law firm advertising.
Developing a corporate policy will need the input of several departments. Talk with department managers and ask for their suggestions in creating your guidelines.
Research similar companies and their guidelines to find examples of rules that others feel are important to include. Socialmediagovernance.com has more than 120 policies online that can help you formulate your own.
Consider that your policy needs to protect your employees’ rights to personal privacy and to ban employees from sharing information that would compromise the privacy of other employees.
Establish reasonable and enforceable guidelines that employees can easily understand. Be sure that the penalty for non-compliance is stated clearly.
A well thought out policy for social media establishes the rules that will enable everyone to participate as an ambassador for your company in the digital arena.