There’s no such thing as a standard social media policy. Your social media policy must be customized for the specific business and context.
Nowadays it becomes more and more obvious for businesses that they must develop a social media policy to prevent the risk of losing trade secrets or having employees say things that damage brand’s reputation.
Some of the most important aspects of a smart Social Media Policy are:
1. Define what types of discussions and posts are allowed.
According to Mashable, firms should:
Refrain from comments that can be interpreted as slurs, demeaning, inflammatory, etc. The Internet is full of varied opinions, and it’s okay to share yours, but you never, never, never want to be branded a racist or narrow-minded or an unstoppable hot-head.
Firms need to monitor what employees say in social media — but not through accessing employees social networks, but through public listening posts. Remember, your social media policy should stipulate these policies are in effect whether the employee uses their own equipment on their own time or that of their employer.
2. Establish consequences when employees violate the policy.
Remember that employees are your internal customers and you have to treat them nice and this should be followed in your social media policy as well.
Your employees should know that companies can and will monitor employee use of social media and social networking web sites, even if they are engaging in social networking or social media use away from the office. Employees should always think twice before hitting ’send‘; consider what could happen if your organization sees what the employee publishes on the Internet and how that may reflect not just on the employee, but also the company.
3. Encourage employees to engage.
They can best respond to customer complaints they find in social media. Reward them for their efforts and empower them to fix problems.
4. Participate in social networks even during working hours.
It can be difficult to parse employee actions on social networks between work related activities and purely social activities. And the natural blurring between the two necessary of effective community building makes this even more difficult.
5. Distinguish employees who have a legitimate role in participating in the firm’s social networks.
Eliminate the bureaucracy. An approval process I believe works in social media is to have strategies approved by management, including the tone of conversations, sources of information legitimate for disclosure, who might post on the firm’s social networks, and the proper blend on personal and professional sharing.
6. Develop standards and metrics related to the use of social media by employees.
If you’re going to use employees effectively as part of your social media efforts, your social media policy should contain standards and metrics to guide behavior. For instance, if employees are required to monitor company social networks, they should have standards and metrics in terms of how they respond to customers, such as responding within 24 hours.