Drew Williams | If you’ve recently thought about implementing social media guidelines or a social media policy at your company, you’re not alone. According to research by Proskauer, almost 79 percent of the 110 businesses surveyed have a social media policy in place, which is up from 69 percent in 2012 and 55 percent in 2011. In fact, 36 percent of all businesses blocked social media entirely at the workplace in 2013 and 2014. If you do decide to pursue some rules for your employees, here are some tips to get started.
First, and most importantly, you need to hire a lawyer. Dealing with social media regulations has gotten companies in some heat in the past regarding freedom of speech. Once you have guidelines in place, your lawyer can help with ironing out the fine details to make sure your policy is good to go.
Second, take a look at policies that have received praise to get a good idea of how to write your own. Adidas, Best Buy and HP have all gained recognition for having excellent policies for their employees and will make a good template for where to start with your company. One provision to note in the Proskauer study is that relatively few companies had policies in place to protect them against ex-employees, which they strongly recommend to prevent damage to your company from potential angry remarks on social media.
Once you have a written policy, the third step is to introduce it to your current employees and ultimately train them on the new guidelines. Though the vast majority of companies these days have policies in place, less than 38 percent of them actually train their employees on them. Proper training should drastically reduce the risk involved with misuse of a policy.
Finally, make sure you perform annual audits on your employees, as well as on the policy itself. Laws can quickly change, and in the world of social media that moves seemingly at the speed of light, this becomes arguably the most important step of the process. Annual audits and an annual visit with your lawyer can ensure that your company and its social media policy is adhering to the current laws, which should always be your number one priority.
We are partnered with Haynes and Boone International Law Firm. If you need a social media policy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.