What to include in a Social Media Policy
Social media is a major communications channel in the 21st century, so it’s no surprise that the distinction between professional and personal use can be blurry.
The use of social media by employees during their employment can result in employers being held vicariously liable for the conduct of its employees on social media sites (even where the offending conduct was outside of the office and office hours) or having their business reputation injured by negative comments posted by employees on social media sites. However, strangely enough, statistics suggest that employers have been slow to formalise their position on social media use in relation to their employees.
A total ban on social media in the workplace is generally not practical or desirable given the business advantages that can be derived from its use and the prevalence of mobile devices in the workplace. Employers can still enjoy the advantages of social media while mitigating the associated risks, by adopting and implementing a well-drafted and well-communicated social media workplace policy. Writing a clear social media policy for employees is a good way to ensure they use these sites appropriately and limit their personal use during working hours.
What a Social Media Policy “Should” cover
A social media policy should outline the employer’s expectations and provide clear parameters regarding the use of social media, social media workplace behaviour, and the outcomes for breaches of the policy. Employees should then be monitored and managed in accordance with the policy.
Here are some of the elements your social media policy should cover:
1. Separate personal and professional use
Employees should separate their personal and professional social media presence. Social media posts and “likes” can remain online forever. However, it’s not just the corporate account that should be watched. Employees should assume that clients and future employers will also read information on their personal accounts.
2. Who is authorised to post on the company’s behalf?
The policy should clearly detail who is authorised to use the company’s social media channels and respond on the company’s behalf. Employees should consult the appropriate person in the company before answering any media inquiries. Employees should be reminded to be mindful of the company’s reputation when posting on its behalf.
3. Use disclaimers
If an employee mentions your business in the profile of their personal social media pages, they should also include a disclaimer saying their opinions and comments do not necessarily reflect the point of view of your company or its management.
4. Ensure that company time is for company business
Provide clear boundaries around when employees can access their private social media accounts in the workplace. Employees should be encouraged to limit it in the same way they restrict their personal telephone calls or Internet use.
5. Respect copyright
Employees sharing links online, for example, should be sure the source of the content being shared is reputable. They should also guard against plagiarism by properly crediting the sources of the material they use.
6. Avoid revealing personal information
Employees should limit the amount of personal information they reveal online. Ask employees to get permission from other employees, clients or business partners before publishing names or pictures online.
Get more help
Team Accelerate have partnered with Effective Workplace Solutions to ensure all our legal information and advice is 100% accurate and effective. If you need more information about;
- Social Media Policies in your business,
- Introducing policies
- Implementing a Staff Manual
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