You own a business and know that social media is a serious part of marketing. A Social Media Policy can help you control how your employees behave on social media. You may be legally responsible for what your employees post online, so it's best to communicate your expectations and reduce your potential liability with a Social Media Policy.
Whether or not your business has an online presence, a Social Media Policy is a smart move. You need to control what's posted on your company's profiles and sites. But that may not be your biggest concern. What if an employee is posting less than stellar stuff about the business on their own profile? Employees often don't realize that even their personal sites aren't always 100% personal when it comes to business. Or maybe you've hired someone to manage your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account. You'd better make sure you get the passwords and any information about online contacts when the employee moves on. A Social Media Policy can help you define the terms, rules, and appropriate uses of this tool with your employees.
When to use a Social Media Policy:
You want to establish guidelines for how members of the company should engage in social media.
You want to manage or monitor the way your employees talk about your company online.
You want to prevent employee misuse of social networks as it relates to your company and its business interests.
You want to retain your social media (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc.) contacts when employees or service providers manage your social media accounts.
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Sample Social Media Policy
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Social Media Policy
At (the "Company"), we know that online social platforms, including blogs, wikis, message boards, video and photo sharing websites, and social networking services, are constantly transforming the way we interact. We also recognize the importance of the Internet in shaping the public view of our company. The Company is committed to supporting your right to interact responsibly and knowledgeably on the Internet through blogging and interaction in social media. We want our members to share and learn from others in order to build a valuable online community.
The purpose of these guidelines is two-fold: First, the Company has an aim to protect our interests, including, but not limited to, the privacy of our employees and confidentiality regarding our business purpose, plans, partners, users, and competitors. Second, these guidelines will help you make respectful and appropriate decisions about your work-related interactions with people on the Internet.
Your personal online activity is your business. However, any activity in or outside of work that affects your performance, the performance of others at the Company, or the Company's business interests are a proper focus for this Social Media Policy. You must always assume that your work-related social media activity is visible to the Company as well as current and potential employees, clients, partners, prospects, and competitors. The Company reserves the right to direct its members to avoid certain subjects and remove inappropriate comments and posts. Our internal policies remain in effect in our workplace.
Guidelines for Discussing on the Internet
You are not authorized to speak on behalf of the company without express permission from Manager.
If you have permission to discuss the Company and / or our current and potential business activities, employees, partners, clients, or competitors, please follow these guidelines:
Identification: Identify yourself. Include your name, and when appropriate, state your role or title within the Company.
Disclaimer: Use a disclaimer that "the views you express on the particular website are yours alone and do not represent the views of the Company."
Proof: Support any statements made online with factual evidence.
Also, let your manager know about the content you plan to publish. Your manager may want to visit the website to understand your point of view.
Guidelines for Confidential and Proprietary Information
You may not share information that is confidential and proprietary about the Company. This includes, but is not limited to, company strategy, information about trademarks, upcoming product releases, sales, finances, number of products sold, number of employees, and any other information that has not been publicly released by the Company.
The list above is given as example only and does not cover the range of what the company considers confidential and proprietary. If you have any questions about whether information has been released publicly or any other concerns, please speak with your manager before releasing information that could potentially harm the Company, or our current and potential business interests, employees, partners, and clients.
For additional information on proprietary information, please review the contract you signed when you joined the Company.
The Company's logo and trademarks may not be used without explicit permission in writing from the Company. This is to prevent the appearance that you speak for or officially represent the Company.
It is fine to quote or retweet others, but you should not attempt to pass off someone else's words, photography, or other information as your own. All copyright, privacy, and other laws that apply offline apply online as well. Always give proper credit to credit your sources when posting a link or information gathered from another source.
Transparency and Disclosures
If you have permission to publicly share what a client, partner, or other organization is doing, such as launching a new website or coming out with a new product, you must disclose your relationship to the other party.
Do not discuss an organization or product in social media in exchange for money. If you receive a product or service to review for free, you must disclose it in your post or review.
Respect and Privacy Rights
Use common sense.
Follow the rules of the social media sites you use.
Speak respectfully about the Company and our current and potential employees, clients, partners, and competitors.
Write knowledgeably, accurately, and with appropriate professionalism. Despite disclaimers, your Web interaction can result in members of the public forming opinions about the Company and its employees, partners and business interests.
Refrain from publishing anything that could reflect negatively on the Company's reputation or otherwise embarrass the organization, including posts about drug or alcohol abuse, profanity, off-color or sexual humor, and other inappropriate conduct. Do not use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not otherwise be acceptable in the Company's workplace. Please also show respect for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory.
Honor the privacy rights of our current staff, members, and partners by seeking their permission before writing about or displaying internal company information that could be considered a breach of their privacy and confidentiality.
Respect the law, including those laws governing defamation, discrimination, harassment, and copyright and fair use.
Media inquiries for information about our company and our current and potential products, employees, partners, clients, and competitors should be referred to the This does not specifically include your opinions, writing, and interviews on topics aside from our company and our current and potential products, employees, partners, clients, and competitors.
You may not sell any product or service that would compete with any of the Company's products or services without permission in writing from Manager. This includes, but is not limited to trainings, books, products, and freelance writing. If in doubt, discuss this matter with your Manager.
Your Legal Liability
The Company complies with all federal and state laws that apply to our operations and activities. Since you are involved in the Company's operations and activities, you are responsible for understanding and observing these policies.
Note that the breach of privacy and confidentiality, use of copyrighted materials, unfounded or derogatory statements, or misrepresentation may be considered illegal and is not accepted by the Company.
Each person at the Company is personally responsible, and may be legally liable, for the content he or she publishes online. You can be sued for not disclosing your relationship to the Company, or for purposely spreading false information. You can also be sued by company employees, competitors, and any individual or company that views your commentary, content, or images as defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous or creating a hostile work environment. In addition to any legal action, your activity can result in disciplinary action up to and including employment termination.
If you have any questions, please ask the for guidance on compliance with the laws.
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