economics

March 19, 2010

10 important elements to include in a good social media policy.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ktetaichinh @ 11:13 pm
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1 Overall Philosophy. An effective social media policy should define the company’s overall philosophy on social media and be consistent with its culture.
For example, does the company have a supportive, open philosophy on the use of social media or a stronger, more limited embrace of this technology?
2 Honesty and Respect. One of the most important aspects of a policy is a requirement that employees be open, honest, respectful and transparent in their usage of social media – especially in the business context.
3 Confidential and Proprietary Information. Disclosure of confidential or proprietary information through social media can be prevalent. Especially since this type of communication is often viewed as less formal than other, there is increased risk for inadvertent disclosure. Guidelines should reinforce the company’s confidentiality and proprietary information policies and apply such to the social media environment.
4 Online Identity. When engaging in online social networking, it is important to differentiate an employee’s personal identity from his or her business identity. While regulating employees’ usage of their personal identity may be outside of the scope of a company social media policy, defining such is fair game. For example, is it acceptable to have an employee’s business name and title be connected to a personal blog post which is critical of a certain political party? Is it acceptable for employees to post their work
e-mail addresses on blogs discussing controversial topics? An effective policy must address such issues and define acceptable limits.
5 Focus on Job Performance. There is a lot of discussion on whether social media hurts worker productivity. For example, is it acceptable for an employee to post on a personal blog during their lunch break? Or, can an employee tweet on business-related topics during the work day? Remember, the new work force does not live in an eight-to-five world. The focus should be on job performance instead of “company time.”
6 Avoid Conflicts of Interest. Conflicts of interest come in many forms – especially when engaging in social media. The policy should discuss how to identify potential conflicts of interest, what types of
conflicts are prohibited and who to talk to when in doubt.
7 Include a Disclaimer. Employees should make it clear that their views about work-related matters
do not represent the views of their employer or any other person. The policy should require a disclaimer, such as the following, when there is the possibility for confusion between business and personal identity: The views expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer or any other person.
8 Monitoring. The policy should state whether
– and to what extent – the company has the right to monitor social media usage and identify any associated disciplinary guidelines.
9 Universal Application. A social media policy should apply to everyone, not just a subset of employees (i.e., the marketing department).
10 Other Policies. Other company policies, such as those on workplace environment, discrimination, harassment, ethics, code of conduct and others apply even in the cyber-land of social media. An effective policy should remind internal audiences of these obligations and relate them to social media.

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