Creating a social media policy for your organizationArticle added by Amy McIlwain on February 8, 2011
Amy McIlwain

Amy McIlwain

Denver, CO

Joined: August 26, 2010

The exponential growth of social media in the online world has quickly caused the lines to blur between the personal, professional, private and overall general models of interaction and conduct online. Implementing a social media policy for your organization is key in setting guidelines, rules and regulations on what is appropriate and how your business is displayed online. But, ugh, rules and regulations? Social media policy? Proprietary information and content? What are these things?

Social media popularized so quickly that the idea of a social media policy was an afterthought for most companies. Regardless of whether your business has a social media policy, it's crucial that you create and implement a strategy for regulating the use of social media and how your organization is being seen by the online world. We’ve created a list of useful tips and links that will help you and your business continue your online success.

Review your organization’s existing policies first, then consider the following three internal levels of social media guidelines: blogging policy, outbound commenting policy and employee guidelines.

1. Rules of engagement
  • Be judicious: Know and follow your organization’s code of conduct and privacy policy.
  • Be transparent: Represent and identify your company truthfully.
  • Your responsibility: Know your role and stick to your area of expertise — don’t overstep your bounds.
  • Be a leader: Don’t denigrate competitors, let alone your own organization.
2. Contractors and endorsements
  • Give and take credit where credit is due.
  • Respect proprietary information, content and confidentiality.
  • Clarify who owns what.
3. Moderation guidelines
  • Reviewing and approving content: It is unnecessary to have each and every piece of content reviewed; however, it is recommended that organizations implement a monthly review process of activity.
  • Identify and define your company’s purpose, scope and focus of information.
  • Exercise good judgment.
Other helpful tips include:
  • Implement a social media accreditation process for your employees to complete before participating in your organization’s social media practices. Many companies and employees are simply uneducated in regards to social media and are therefore hesitant to engage. Education and accreditation are key to success.

  • Create a social media best practices guide to break down the creation and maintenance of blogs, podcasts, discussion forums, Wikis, RSS feeds, video sharing, and social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

  • Disagreeing or debating with other companies is not forbidden. Just be sure to be polite and behave diplomatically.

  • Use common sense. Don’t comment on legal matters, crisis situations or any other topics that could possibly be viewed in a negative light.
Remember the 3 R's of social media engagement: representing, responsibility and respect. Check out the following links to help in creating implementing your social media policy. Did we miss any? Give us some feedback on how your organization implements its social media policy!
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