how to deal with social media at work

Social Media

My last post about social media at work has clearly shown how fast it can happen for firms to meet social media issues. That’s why in times like these a detailed social media policy is inevitable.

Bradley Shear, a lawyer and entrepreneur says in his blog about social media:

“Nobody wants to be made an example of, but there is going to need to be some major lawsuits or decisions by federal courts, appellate courts or more to decide what are acceptable practices online for a real shift to take place. There are legal ramifications for everything you do online, and many people and businesses simply don’t understand that.”

That’s the point. By now there are nearly no examples, which can guide firms in making their own social media policy. So what should be included?

Your perfect hedge – 10 steps to a social media policy

Sharlyn Lauby, the president of Internal Talent Management (ITM), mentions 10 must-haves for your social media policy:

1 Purpose: What is in for the reader? You should focus on things your employees can do, more than what they can’t. This point is identical with Mario Sundar’s view (community evangelist at LinkedIn), like Tiffany Black states in her article on

2 Responsibility: Your whole organization and all representatives have to take responsibility for what they write in social media. Maybe exercise how to judge what’s good to write about and what should not be mentioned.

3 Authenticity: Include your name and maybe even your organizations name and your title. That makes it easier for consumers to trust you.

4 Audience: Always remember, who your audience is: it includes future consumers, future employees or past employees and also competitive firms.

5 Judgment: Eric B. Meyer, associate at the labor and employment group of Dilworth Paxson LLP, states: “Employees should always think twice before hitting ’send‘; consider what could happen if your organization sees what the employee publishes on the Internet and how that may reflect not just on the employee, but also the company.”

6 Community: It’s about you supporting others and them supporting you. Your community should invite customers to feel free to share, connect or receive help.

7 Copyrights: I guess there’s nothing left to say: Respect Copyrights.

8 Protection: Make sure your employees don’t share confidential information of your company via social media.

9 Value: Add value to your readers, fans, followers etc. Maybe you can fix problems you didn’t even see before, just because you’ve read a complaint of a customer on social media.

10 Productivity: Find a balance between social media and other work.

Got it?

If you’re still not satisfied and this list is too vague for you, you could also have a look on social media policies of several other companies. Maybe they can give you a guideline how your own social media policy should look like. If that’s what you’re looking for, I’d like to help you: Here is an online database with about 200 social media policies.

This video summarizes the whole topic: