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Should my company have a Social Media policy?

It’s a great idea to draft a company policy on employee Social Media usage.  Many employees are posting or tweeting about their companies on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, creating negative business images and actually, in some cases, putting companies at risk.   

Even if employees are logging in on their personal computers at home companies can still impose certain policies regarding proprietary information, types of postings and disclaimers.

You don’t want to find yourself like this North Carolina Domino’s pizza: An employee stuffed a piece of cheese up his nose and then placed it on a sandwich to be delivered to a customer.  A co-worker who observed the incident posted the video on You Tube.  More than half a million hits later the health department showed up on Domino’s doorstep and the company had a massive PR nightmare.

So, as Domino’s learned, there is power in social media – and power amongst those who use it, even when harm is unintentional or postings are “for fun.”  So it is prudent to have policies and procedures that protect your company from the potential ramifications of social networking.

The following guidelines for drafting a policy on employees’ use of Twitter, Facebook or other social media tools are derived from a Society for Human Resource Management report: 

  1. Don’t let personal use of twitter or other social networking sites interfere with work.
  2. Employees must get company approval to use Twitter to conduct business.  (Note:  This isn’t far-fetched.  Many organizations have successfully incorporated Twitter into their marketing strategies)
  3. Any use of the organization’s name, trademarks, logos or other intellectual property must be approved.
  4. If employees make personal comments about any aspect of the organization’s business, their profiles must carry a disclaimer that the views expressed are their own, and not the organization’s.
  5. Tweets may not disclose confidential or proprietary information.
  6. Employees should use common sense about what they post,

One Response to “Ask Nancy: Social Media Policies”

  1. marlon.sml

    Every business would benefit from having a social media policy in place, but it should not be an all or nothing approach. Instead of having a policy in place that blocks social media completely or doesn’t block social media at all and expects employees to follow policy rules, why not block some pieces of social media and keep some parts of social media accessible? Social media is growing in the business world and companies would be missing out on its benefits if it is blocked entirely. Palo Alto Networks might have found a solution to this problem, they have a new software that has the ability to do thing such as a read-only facebook. I think companies could really benefit from something like this, what do you think? Here’s a link to new whitepapers they have created: http://bit.ly/d2NZRp http://bit.ly/brno0T http://bit.ly/9G1Z3A http://bit.ly/dtsQb4

    Reply

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