Putting together social media policy

My Social Policy Vivienne StoreyVivienne Storey (@mysocialpolicy) is General Manager for BlandsLaw, a legal firm specialising in social media risk management in the workplace. She spoke on the legal aspects of a good social media policy in the workplace at a recent social media for women event. Here is what she had to say:

Dismissing an employee because of Facebook comments or employee public arguments on social media platforms are real legal issues for companies, however, banning social media in the work place is not effective (people have smart phones like an iPhone or Blackberry). Many employees are confused as to how to use social media and a good company policy can guide them.

A social media policy is different from social media guidelines

  • Keep your social media policy succinct.  Summarise it with guidelines. A social media policy may be 9 pages, the guidelines 1 page.
  • Don’t write your policy in legalese – write it in plain English

Guidelines include advice such as reminding employees:

  • That one-on-one conversations are being watched by others.
  • Don’t drink and tweet

Things to consider in your policy:

  • Who owns the LinkedIn database – employee or company
  • Don’t cross private and business accounts.
  • Don’t friend clients.
  • Include crisis management (who to go to and what for)
  • Don’t use phrases like ‘use your good judgement’ or ‘use your common sense’ in the policy.  Define what these are.
  • Client confidentiality is a legal consideration. For example clients may not want you to check into foursquare  highlighting your meeting with them
  • Protect your online name and passwords so that employees who move on don’t take them with them
  • A social media team at a company should include marketing, comms, HR, legal counsel, IT.

Vivienne blogs at My Social Media Policy