Social Media Policy Development Tips

With social media becoming more and more popular, companies are beginning to develop social media policies.  These policies are seen as essential to companies because of the presence of social media in almost everyone's daily lives.  Companies are worried that their employees' presence on social media could possibly affect their reputation as a brand, so some policies are written more strictly than others.  How to develop a social media policy and what it will include troubles most companies because they do not want it to violate any privacy rights of the employee. A well developed policy will guide employees in the many ways that they engage in social communications.  The best way to execute a good social media policy is to create a policy that empowers the brand but that also informs employees about how social media operates and how it can help them grow with the company.

The Public Relations Society of America have come up with a few simple steps for anyone to initiate a social media policy.  Here are a few of their social media policy tips:

  • Appoint someone to lead the way and encourage employees to take part in the matter.  This usually being the PR manager.
  • Create a team to guide and monitor the process of the social media policy so that way everyone is on board.
  • Encourage everyone to take part in the involvement of the policy and go beyond the black and whites of the matter.  See how your policy works within your organization.
  • Readjust to see what works for your company and what doesn't.
  • Follow up on social media policy development by following the PRSA and their trials.

One thing you might want to be careful of...

  • Under the National Labor Relations Act, US-based employees have a legal right to organize to improve their working conditions, even if that effort includes publicly criticizing their employer or discussing confidential information, such as a salaries, on social networks.  That's right, restricting employees from discussing "confidential information" is too broad a requirement to pass muster.

As with any new communication platform, some efforts to monitor communication go exceptionally well, while others aren't as effective and some even die out. Organizations that approach social media policy development using an organized and planned approach, consistent with the organization's mission, strategy and values, will be able to review how well these initiatives meet their objectives and use that insight to improve existing efforts or plan future projects better.