- Have a plan – This should include an Introduction and Definition of Social Media. Not everyone is familiar with social media, tell them what it is (and isn’t).
- Explain the rational and reason for the policy – Provide some context why the policy is needed. Employees need to understand why the policy exists and what the company’s strategy is.
- Who the company will allow and when authorization is needed to make postings – Anyone can set up and post on Twitter but not everyone should be allowed to post on the company’s behalf.
- A high degree of common sense and judgment must be used – be a good Social & Digital Citizen! It may seem redundant to remind people of this, but doing so is very important. Other policies pertaining to ethical behavior should be referenced.
- Opinions – Any opinions posted must state for that they are the employee’s opinion and not the company’s. Many people reading the post(s) may assume that the employee’s posting represents the company but it may not. On the other hand, when an employee is speaking on behalf of the company, some companies want the employee to clearly state that they are doing so.
- Delineate personal and corporate consequences – Employees may have personal legal liability for actions that have created liability exposure to the company via the use of social media.
- Intellectual property, confidentiality and privacy concerns – This goes back to using Common Sense. Some companies (such as Best Buy) won’t even allow the use of logos.
- Provide best-practices advice – The use professional language, being polite, honest and truthful, the avoidance of obscenities, slurs and other offensive language, use proper spelling and grammar, etc..
- Media relations – When and where a company uses a media sources contact or a PR firm, there should be clear guidelines directing information to be posted.
One final note, encourage employees to use internal channels to try to report and resolve complaints without them posting negative comments online somewhere. Always better to handle complaints internally!