Social Media Employee Policies
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Social Media Employee Policies

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With social media playing a larger role in a company's marketing mix, it is important that businesses are creating social media policies for their employees.

With social media playing a larger role in a company's marketing mix, it is important that businesses are creating social media policies for their employees.

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  • 1. Social Media Usage Policies January 12, 2011 Presented by Jean Ohman Back & Nichole Tennyson Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
  • 2. Social Media in the Workplace
    • Employees are also using social media in their work place:
      • As part of legitimate work activities in marketing or selling;
      • As part of personal activities in monitoring Facebook and MySpace sites;
      • As part of communication with clients, family, and friends, employees tweet and text while at work.
  • 3. Social Media in the Workplace
    • Improperly Use Social Media, Get Fired
      • Radio Host Mike Bacsik tweets in response to the Dallas Mavericks loss to the San Antonio Spurs: “Congratulations to all the dirty Mexicans.”
      • Professor Gloria Gadsden reports on Facebook: “Does anyone know where I can find a very discrete hitman? Yes, it’s been that kind of day.”
  • 4. Social Media in the Workplace
    • Improperly Use Social Media, Get Fired
      • Former nursing school employee Jennifer Carter suggests a way the Governor could cut State expenses: “Schedule regular medical exams like everyone else instead of paying UMC employees overtime to do it when clinics are usually closed.”
      • Emergency Medical Tech Dawnmarie Souza: “Love how the company allows a 17 to become a supervisor.” (17 is the company’s lingo for a psychiatric patient).
  • 5. Electronic Communication and Social Networking Policy
    • Review your Electronic Communication Policy – most employers do have them in their handbooks, but they were probably drafted without much change years ago. The times have changed and policies need a fresh look.
  • 6. Adopt a Social Networking Policy
    • First step is to evaluate your workplace and decide how restrictive you want your policy – For example, companies that sell products promoting social networking do not want to have strict anti-social networking policies.
  • 7. Review Other Policies
    • As you begin to formulate your policy, start by reviewing policies that other companies have drafted. You may find one that will suit your purposes. You can find a whole collection at the following website:
    • http://www.compliancebuilding.com/about/publications/social-media-policies/
  • 8. Policy, Purpose and Scope
    • Begin with a policy statement that states why you are creating a policy
      • What is your purpose or objective – What does your organization want to accomplish through social media? Examples:
        • Increase sales or leads
        • Increase brand awareness
        • Position company as a leader in the industry
        • Improve company service
        • Market your services
      • What is the Scope – Who does the policy apply to?
  • 9. Define Social Media
    • Blogs – sites that allow individuals to share a running log of events and personal insights with on line audience.
    • Podcasts – a collection of digital media files distributed over the internet for playback on portable media players and personal computers.
    • Wiki – Allows users to create, edit, and link web pages easily; often used to create collaborative Web sites (called “Wikis”) and to power community Web sites .
  • 10. Defining Social Media
    • Media Sharing Sites – such as flickr and YouTube.
    • Networking Sites – Examples include Facebook, Myspace, and LinkedIn
    • Expert Communities – examples include Yahoo Answers and Wiki Answers
    • Social bookmarking sites -- (e.g., Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc.)
  • 11. Establish Guidelines for Social Media Use
    • What topics are acceptable for discussion?
    • Is use of social media permitted in the workplace?
  • 12. Content of Social Networking Policy
    • Remind employees to be thoughtful in their posts – the line between public and private become blurred on line;
    • Remind employees that they must protect confidential and proprietary information ;
    • Ask employees who blog to use a disclaimer that their statements are theirs alone;
  • 13. Content of Social Networking Policy
    • Instruct employees to be respectful of coworkers in their posts;
    • Tell employees that they may not use company logos or images in their posts;
    • Instruct employees to adhere to anti-harassment policies while blogging;
    • Instruct employees not to make derogatory comments about coworkers, clients, or business partners.
  • 14. Content of Social Networking Policy
    • Ask employees to use their best judgment – there are always consequences to everything that they post, and once posted, it is out there for good. If they have questions about content, tell them that they can come to a supervisor, or HR.
    • Tell employees to remember their day job – Social media activities should not interfere with their work or customer relations.
  • 15. Content of Social Networking Policy
    • If your company produces content for social media consumption, then your policy should have a section addressing best practices for creating content. You will need to set out examples for the appropriate way to blog, for example:
      • responding in a timely manner to comments;
      • being informational, rather than promotional in your writing.
  • 16. Content of Social Networking Policy
    • Tell your employees that you may review publicly available social media postings.
    • Tell your employees that violation of your social media policy can lead to discipline, up to and including termination.
    • Warn your employees that their posts could be used by another person or company in litigation.
  • 17. Train Your Employees
    • Incorporate your discussion of the do’s and dont’s of social networking into the new hire process;
    • Have a mandatory training for anyone who runs a blog;
    • Talk about the consequences for failing to follow the policy;
    • Encourage participation.
  • 18. Apply Your Policies
    • If you tell employees that you will monitor their emails, text messages, and social media postings to defeat a reasonable expectation of privacy, you must follow through.
    • Adopt a system to randomly review emails, etc. to avoid claims of discrimination.
  • 19. Jean Ohman Back (503) 796-2960 [email_address] Nichole Tennyson (503) 796-7465 [email_address]