Creating An Effective Social Media Policy


In this day and age, it is impossible to prevent your employees from using social media sites while at work. Some employers have embraced this, while others have not. Most business owners do not want productivity to slide or have workers portray a negative corporate image online, which is completely understandable and respectable.

For those employers resisting social media usage at work, stop the fight. You’re not going to win, and if you do, your current and future teams will be extremely unhappy. Instead, encourage social media and internet usage that doesn’t cut into work efficiency and turn your staff into brand ambassadors. There are limitations, however. It’s one thing to be checking Facebook at work, and another to be checking an Ashley Madison account on the job.

Millennials value, more than any other perk, being able to freely access their social media while on the job, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not completing their work. There are always a few bad apples in the group, but most millennials do genuinely take pride in their projects and work hard to achieve great results.

Millennials aren’t the only group spending vast amounts of time on social networks, so are their parents. While they use social media in a different capacity at work, they are still ambassadors of your brand and should be coached as to how to effectively talk about your company on social media to show your brand in a positive light.

As a business owner, it’s a best practice to cover your bases by making social media usage clearly understood in a formal policy. These policies outline the rules for usage at work and the policies behind employee behaviour online if they are publicly affiliated with the company. The rules for every organization will be different but largely contain the same language.

So as you go forward in outlining a social media policy for your organization, how will you foster the creation of a winning social media policy?

Take a look at The Los Angeles Times social media policy to take inspiration from as you prepare your own:

Latimes social media policy

The Los Angeles Times recognizes the importance of social media in journalism. Therefore, they encourage their journalists to freely participate in social media ventures given that they adhere to the Times’ Social Media Guidelines. For some key points:

  1. Principles of integrity, professionalism, privacy and impartiality should be observed by journalists when posting online.
  2. The authenticity of what employees post is important. Online journalists should verify questionable content with credible sources before posting or tweeting about it.
  3. It is important for employees to properly define their association with the publication as they would do offline.

One thought on “Creating An Effective Social Media Policy

  1. I totally agree with the premise of enabling employees to serve as online goodwill ambassadors, but I disagree with how this post recommends getting there.

    Here’s why…

    Up to now, most organizations have tried to manage social media risk by issuing a policy.

    80% of employers have a social media policy, but 70% have taken disciplinary action against employees for social media misuse.

    Policies are important, but they aren’t enough.

    According to a report by a white shoe, global employment law firm “Employers should make social media training a priority. Training employees reduces risk.”

    Check it out for yourself.

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