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The Social Media Policy – today’s must have for employers

Good question and congratulations for putting together a Social Media policy. This topic is getting hotter by the day.

While there’s obvious content in any good Social Media policy, one section I’d definitely spend time on is clearly defining employee obligations when using social media outside work. In other words, the employee’s personal social media channels.

Providing specific examples of how you define social media adds clarity to this section:

  • Social networking sites, e.g. Facebook, MySpace
  • Micro-blogging sites, e.g. Twitter
  • Video and photo sharing sites, e.g. YouTube, Flickr, Instagram
  • Weblogs, including corporate and personal blogs
  • Forums and discussion boards, e.g. Yahoo! Groups or Google Groups
  • Online encyclopaedias, e.g. Wikipedia.

Your policy should categorically state the employee’s use of social media tools should not conflict with their obligations to the organisation. This would include points on the employee not using social media tools to:

  • post or disclose information belonging to the organisation that is not publicly available
  • post information relating to customers
  • to communicate adversely about the organisation, its customers, suppliers, employees or contractors

Workers should be made aware that restrictions apply whether or not the worker is using the organisation’s systems, devices or equipment or their own private internet systems and/ or equipment.

While social media provides businesses with a great opportunity to build brand image and develop a loyal customer base, the lines between personal and professional have become increasingly blurred. Most businesses see advantages in their employees sharing a limited range of work-related photos and positive news on their personal social media channels but without a clear policy in place, your business risks being embarrassed by what employees post. Worst case scenario? The possibility of your business facing legal issues in case of a negative post or account hack.

Developing a well written, concise social media policy that includes guidelines, best practices and examples for your employees is vital. Such a document provides employees a clear understanding of what they are allowed to post on their own channels and what is off-limits.

Writing your own HR policies can be time consuming. And the time you spend in this takes you away from your business. The smart alternative? Outsource it!

Bare Bones Consulting specialises in design of employment and HR documents, policies and procedures that work for you. We can help you with a single document, part of a policy or even a full suite of systems, policies and procedures to manage your risk and get the best from your people. Check out our range here.

We don’t do rocket science. We do simple HR stuff that works. Really well. Call us now to see how we can help you.

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