Three Key Elements That Might Be Missing From Your Social Media Policies

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It’s common for companies to develop and issue HR handbooks that detail acceptable and unacceptable work behavior or Internet usage. Unfortunately, many of these documents do not provide clear direction as to how employees should be representing themselves or the brand, especially when communicating online with friends, family, colleagues, clients, and vendors through social networks or posting information and media online.

If you’ve already addressed this issue and drafted a social media policy for your company, you’re way ahead of the curve. But, there may be a few key points missing from your document that might be worth exploring.

For those companies that have not created a social media policy just yet, don’t worry. These recommendations will be helpful when you’re ready to finally put something on paper.

Brand standards
Within your social media policy, include an approved description of your brand. It’s surprising to see the number of employees who use inappropriate acronyms or simply misspell the name of their organization.

Make it clear that individuals who link their online identities with the company and disclose their employment should incorporate the approved language into their online profiles. This ensures a consistent and cohesive brand presence. All employees should be singing from the same hymnal, not making up their own descriptions of the company or their role.

Accountability framework
Depending on the size of your organization, you may have anywhere from dozens to hundreds of employees who are actively participating online. In some cases, those employees may be the first people to come in contact with feedback from current and prospective customers.

Within your policy, it may be a smart idea to list more than marketing or communications specialists as the point people for anything social media related. Consider adding sales, customer service, or product development to the mix. If customers have feedback, it might be worth having more than just the marketing department playing an active role in the response.

Recommendations for engagement
Most social media policies are, well, policies. They contain a very long list of things that employees should avoid doing. Consider adding suggestions for how employees should be using social media to connect with coworkers and the public in general. Offer examples of networking scenarios and clearly communicate your company’s expectations. However, if your brand isn’t quite ready to let employees network and connect with public audiences, you may want to skip this section.

For examples of social media policies used by companies of all sizes, check out Social Media Governance.

Does your company have a social media policy? If so, what other key elements would you add?

This post was co-authored by Brandon Chesnutt, social media director at Identity.

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