Do You Need A Social Media Policy?
Does Your Company Need a Social Media Policy? Probably So.
- Do you employ people?
- Do you hire consultants?
- Do you work with interns or volunteers?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your company needs a social media policy. This is true for law firms, corporations, agencies and small businesses alike.
Social media is not only here to stay, it's becoming more and more popular every day. When used effectively, social media is “game changer” that can empower employees, consultants, interns and volunteers to increase your visibility, better serve your clients, advance corporate goals and expand your influence. When misused, it can significantly damage your brand and lead to litigation.
A smart social media policy communicates your company’s expectations for the use of social media and sets the tone for online engagement. It also helps to (i) manage your online presence; (ii) promote and protect your brand; and, (iii) mitigate risk and liability.
For starters, your company’s social media policy should require that all employees, consultants, interns, volunteers and affiliates:
1. Adhere to your company code of conduct (you do have one, right?);
2. Adhere to the requirements of employment or consulting agreements;
3. Respect all trademarks, copyrights, privacy, fair use, financial disclosure and other applicable laws and regulations;
4. Include the following disclaimer where appropriate … “These views and opinions are mine alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of [insert company name].”
5. Clearly identify their affiliation with your company if commenting on anything even remotely related to your organization, a competitor or issues related to your company’s interests.
6. Be professional and polite when disagreeing with the comments of others. Ask for guidance from the appropriate corporate official if a situation becomes antagonistic.
7. Always be 100% transparent.
8. Refrain from disclosing confidential and proprietary information;
9. Refrain from attributing personal comments or other unauthorized information to your company; and
10. Refrain from making comments about company clients without express written permission;
It's also important that your social media policy reserve the right of your company to (1) restrict certain topics from online discussion and (2) require the removal of any offensive content posted online.
We have found the most effective social media policies to be short, direct and written in plain English (not legalese or “corporate speak”). If your company does not have a social media policy, UpwardAction® can help. Contact us to develop a policy that is tailored to meet the needs of your firm, company or agency.
The foregoing has been prepared as general information. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific or general matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.