Social Media PolicyIs your company trying to decide what kind of social media policy to follow? You’re not alone.

As companies harness the power of social media, it’s important to have a policy in place to support and protect the integrity and reputation of the company.

So here are some tips to incorporate in your social media policy.

Build a team.

Having a team that handles your company’s social media strategy is important. It cannot be done by one person alone. With a proper team in place, it will be easier to make sure risky areas and topics are managed properly. In addition to staff members, other team members you should include on your team can include the CEO, HR director, IT director, marketing director, and maybe a lawyer specializing in social media.

Create a culture.

Creating a culture around your social media policy facilitates idea sharing, problem-solving, and creativity. Social media is ever-changing, so your policy needs to be ready for changes. This takes proper training, frequent meetings, addressing problems and challenges that arise. So when writing your policy, foster an environment and culture of learning and evaluation, acknowledging your policy values consistency, transparency, and emphasizing training, support, and evaluation.

Consider legalities.

This is where a social media lawyer comes in handy. Because social media takes place online, there are different protections for employees. Communicate policies and policy changes to your lawyer ensuring there won’t be any repercussions from employees.

Have two policies.

To help with the legality end of things, create two policies — one for when employees are at work and one for when they’re not at work. The job-related policy should cover things like job-related activities, roles, and responsibilities, branding guidelines, and should be clear on what policies should be complied with and when.

The second policy should focus on the expectations of employees when they use social media in their personal lives. It should be clear on what employees are and are not allowed to say about your company on their personal sites. Typically forbidden items include client information, trade secrets, and more. Consult with your lawyer while writing this bit of your policy.

Focus on the big picture.

As said before, the social media landscape changes daily. Don’t focus your policy on only one social media outlet, like Facebook, because they’ll eventually be out of date. Stay focused on the bigger picture by deciding the roles and responsibilities in the policy, a general overview of what can and cannot be done, and why the company has the social media policy. This helps your team stay on track, no matter what social media platform is addressed.

Provide training.

Set up training sessions once your new social media policy is established. Give them the guidelines, and reinforce Internet safety practices for good measure. This helps prevent social media mishaps and protects your company’s online reputation.

Keep it relevant.

Review the policy often, about every six months or so should work. Ask if each item is still relevant? Does it help us do our jobs? Have any legal issues changed? Has the social media environment changed? Keeping your policy relevant helps your company’s online reputation ensuring your company doesn’t hit legal problems.

 

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.