How To Create Your Own Social Media Policy
The beast that is best tamed!
I’m not sure the world has ever seen something evolve as quickly as social media has in such a short space of time! And there’s certainly no stopping it now. In fact, it’s fast becoming our primary method of communication, which means that companies really need to set some boundaries about how employees use it which includes providing a Social Media Policy that guides them on what their responsibilities are.
For example, your policy should help staff feel empowered to participate online, while being mindful of their responsibilities and obligations to your company.
It should also highlight the risks connected with reckless online activity. This could include downloading music or movies, installing unauthorised software and web browser plug-ins, opening attachments or clicking on links in unsolicited emails, or surfing pornographic or other dubious websites. It also needs to call on every employee to prevent these things from happening to your business.
To help you develop a Social Media Policy that works for your business here are some key components to consider.
This section will give the employee an overall understanding of what the policy is all about. Ideally it should surmise what the policy includes, how it affects your company, what they need to do and who they should refer to for further details.
Provide the rationale for creating this policy – people tend to respond to new policies much better if they have an understanding of why it exists. It’s important to explain how your company views social media and its presence in society today.
Social Media- How do you define it?
Introduce the types of social media you believe are covered by this policy as distinct to other, more traditional, types of media. Keep in mind social media can include everything from networking sites, video and photo sharing, blogs, wikis and online collaborations, forums and discussion groups, VOD and podcasting, and instant messaging. The list is almost endless and grows day by day.
Expectations On The Employee And Personal Use
Recognise social media covers both work-related and personal use, and define the difference between both. Make employees aware their social media activity may impact their employment adversely, even if this activity takes place outside work hours or on devices not owned by them.
Acceptable And Unacceptable Use
Define both acceptable and unacceptable use of social media when acting as an employee. Plus, outline how the employee needs to refer any enquiries around their type of use to an Authorised Manager. You may want to point out things such as individuals cannot speak on behalf of the company without authorisation.
Acceptable Personal Use While At Work
It’s ok to allow employees to use social media during work hours, but define the type of social media that is acceptable in your work environment as well as the extent of allowable activity.
Breach Of Policy
Clearly explain how the company views breaches of this policy and what the potential consequences are. For example if they engage in unsavoury behaviour online, such as bullying, you will no longer be interested in employing them.
Add A Pop Quiz to demonstrate understanding
While you may have covered all the above points and then given your policy to your employee and asked them to sign it in agreement that they will abide by it – How can you be sure that they really understand it?
Why not add a few questions at the end of the policy to check their knowledge and ensure they understand what the policy covers. For example, you could ask:
- Is it unacceptable to post material on social media sites that is confidential to the company and may bring the company into disrepute?
- Does the company accept that you will use social media sites to network and share information professionally?
- Or give them a situation that they need to think about for example: Your Facebook account identifies where you work. You have had a bad day at work and decide to vent on your Facebook account. Some of the comments you made about people at work are quite derogatory. As it is your personal account you decide it’s ok to post whatever you like without ramification. Is this correct?
It never hurts to research. Consider what other organisations are doing – you may find some tips that will work well in your business. You can find some great examples of social media policies from companies all over the world here.
Be prepared to adapt
Everyone remembers the chaos caused last year when Pokémon Go was let loose on our streets – it felt like it took over the world in one night! No doubt social media will continue to evolve and you never know what new craze will be around the corner, but if you have your policies already in place it puts you in a much better position to be able to quickly adapt to whatever may pop up.
To make developing your social media policy easy DiffuzeHR has already prepared one in our system for you. It covers all of these key areas and includes a short knowledge test to ensure your employees really understand their responsibilities.
Please note: This document is provided as a guide only. DiffuzeHR makes no warranties as to its suitability and completeness for your specific individual use.
To learn more about the benefits of automating HR with DiffuzeHR, please book a demo at http://diffuze.com.au/.