Best Practices for Creating a Corporate Social Media Policy

Thanks to a new software called WorkplaceViewer from Google, I can see that 70% of your employees are on Facebook and Twitter right now. Ok, I’m kidding (...or am I?) but it is safe to assume that your employees use at least one of these social media tools professionally or personally during work...and that could be a potential problem for your company – here are some examples:

And the list goes on. There are numerous examples of security and confidential concerns and inappropriate behavior on social networks. Open social networks were originally intended for consumer use, not corporate use. Nonetheless, as adoption and dependence on these communication tools permeate the workplace and work/life mix, the use of social media is driving a legal implication. Regardless of your company type, there’s one thing that you must absolutely do - create a social media policy.

Creating a corporate social media policy is typically confounding to most companies. And usually, the marketing team is tasked with figuring it all out which is an unproductive exercise at best. Universally, clients ask us where they start. Truth be told, there is no one best way. There are as many different approaches to developing a corporate social media policy as there are in developing a social media marketing plan. However, there are best practices to guide you. Here are the best practices to create a corporate social media policy:

  1. 1. Audit your social media properties.
  2. 2. Assemble your Corporate Social Media Policy Team. This team must understand the goals of social media communications (if for professional use) and who will be accountable for the creation of the document. This team should include persons from Legal, HR, IT, Marketing, and Strategy.
  3. 3. Benchmark the policies of 3-5 companies who operate in a similar scope and scale that your company does. Begin here at http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php, which is a good online database of social media policies from a variety of industries and company sizes.
  4. 4. List those benchmarked policies in a matrix to highlight commonalities (i.e. policies you should probably adopt) and fringe policies (i.e. policies you should consider).
  5. 5. Go down the policies in the matrix and mark “Yes” or “No” to identify which policies your company will adopt.
  6. 6. Assemble the document and present it to the company.

The best treatment for social media backlash is prevention. Don’t fall victim to security traps and professional faux pas. Follow these best practices and create your corporate social media policy.

Having trouble getting started? Try this Corporate Social Media Policy Template [PDF] as a base and customize from there.

- Johnny Chan, CMO, eBoost Consulting

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