What Should Go Into a Social Media Policy?

Sharlyn Lauby, SPHR, CPLP, and President at ITM Group, shares 10 things to include in every social media policy.

Posted by Joe Gerard in Article on March 28th, 2012
You are probably already aware that if your company is using social media, you should have a social media policy in place. Lawful social media policies stand up to scrutiny from the NLRB and can keep you out of trouble. However, in order to create such a policy, what should be included in it?

Effective Social Media Policies

As we’ve mentioned before, a social media policy should serve as a guide for employee social media activity – not just a list of don’ts. Last week we held a webinar, “10 Things to Include in Every Social Media Policy,” led by Sharlyn Lauby, SPHR, CPLP, President of ITM Group and blogger over at HR Bartender. During the webinar, Lauby used real-life examples to demonstrate what goes into an effective social media policy.

There are 10 things that Lauby recommends you think about when putting together your social media policy. Here’s a look at a few of the items on Lauby’s must-have list:

1. Tell people the purpose

Why is your company using social media? When employees understand why social media is being used in or by the company, they are better equipped to help with the company’s social media agenda.

2. Agree upon ownership

[isight-ad]Who owns your social media account(s)? Do social media connections belong to the employee who has been interacting with them or do they belong to the company? You’ll also want to address naming conventions for social media accounts. For example, do you want your employees to have the company name included in the Twitter handles?

3. Be authentic

Be human. If you have a team of people working on your company’s social media accounts, how do you want them to identify themselves? Employees need to understand that they have to take responsibility for what they say on social media.

4. Exercise good judgement

People have different opinions. It’s how companies manage their presence on social media that makes a difference. How are you going to train employees and sensitize them to these different opinions? There’s a fine line between witty commentary and offending someone, and your employees need to know where that line is.

5. Mobile is not social

Mobile and social are two different things. As “bring your own device” continues to be a growing trend, you need to make sure that your policy supports employee equipment use – who maintains it?  What happens when devices are lost or stolen? Can employees login to the company website from anywhere? You need to think about mobile when developing your social media policy, especially if you expect employees to login to social media accounts on laptops, smart phones and tablets.

To find out what the other 5 social media policy must-haves are, check out the full recording of the webinar, which you can access here.


Joe Gerard
Joe Gerard

CEO, i-Sight

Spend my days showing off the i-Sight investigative case management software and finding ways to help clients improve their investigations. Usually working with corporate security, HR & employee relations, compliance and legal teams.

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