Chapter 1: Corporate Social Media Policies
Avoid Overly Broad Policies
An overly broad policy, such as one that prohibits talking about your company on social media sites, is unenforceable, illogical and is usually worse than having no policy at all. Attempts to enforce an overly broad policy can lead to a National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) violation.
Keep Policies Current
Policies must be relevant to the current social media environment, so a policy that you wrote a year ago is likely out of date today. As new social media sites are created and existing sites add new features, there might be new issues you need to review with your employees to mitigate risk. Many employment lawyers advocate reviewing social media policies every three months.Key Points for Every Social Media Policy
A social media policy shouldn’t be a list of don’ts. It should guide employees on how to use social media properly, not control what they are allowed to say. The Edmunds.com social media policy is a great example of a policy that is simple, short and easy to understand but still includes lots of information about using social media the right way.
The following points should be included in every social media policy:
- A definition of what you consider to be “social media”.
- A statement of who owns work products that are created on social media sites.
- A list (and examples) of the types of social media activities that are unacceptable – defamatory comments, insults, harassment, etc.
- An explanation of what company information is confidential .
- Rules for employees who are responsible for maintaining social media accounts on behalf of the company, including what activities they are encouraged to engage in.
- The guidelines should stipulate that the employer will take action against an employee who violates the policy.
A social media policy should include information about the consequences of violating the policy. Each company has its own system for reprimanding employees for poor behavior, so the consequences will vary from company to company.