There remain very few boundaries between our personal and professional lives, thanks to social media. What happens in Vegas really does not stay in Vegas, not with Twitter, Facebook, Vine or even SnapChat.
It is for that very reason; you need to design an adequate social media policy for your business. These policies are not meant to restrict or deter social media engagement, rather to manage the usage in a way that will benefit both you and your employees. The overwhelming majority of your employees are checking their Twitter feed or Facebook profile at work; you might as well provide them with some guidance.
A good social media policy supports, protects, and empowers high-quality engagement. It ensures that you trust your employees to use their social media feeds for good… not evil (as the good folks at Google like to say).
Unlike most policies and procedures, which document what staff should do in each situation, a social media policy sets a tone. There is simply no way to tell an employee how to react for every possible situation. Each relationship is different; each social media network is different; and the social media environment changes too quickly to establish a static step-by-step policy.
It is not difficult to write a social media policy. There are examples abound on the Internet. But in order to create a policy that works, you must first lay the groundwork as a team.
A Social media policy cannot be written by one person alone. It must be unique to your organization and ideally should include input from many different people with a variety of skill sets. So before you write one word, form a team.
Once you form your team, here are 5 other considerations:
- Understand legal implications. Be careful about telling employees what they can and cannot do on their own personal social media sites. This heavy-handed language can quickly backfire and you could find yourself in hot water.
- Broad focus vs. site-specific focus. The social media landscape is ever-changing. If your policy is narrowly focused on a specific social media site, it will most likely be out of date pretty quickly.
- Use current policies as stepping stones. Many apply to social media activities. Reference policies about privacy, photo consents, Internet usage, cell phone usage, etc., with any necessary adjustments for social media.
- Two is better than one. It is advised that you have two social media policies: one for employees using social media for their job and one for employees using social media in their personal lives.
- Let a lawyer review. The cyber-environment changes frequently. Social media policies should be reviewed at least every six months.