Workplace social media policies are gaining attention as the number of people commenting, sharing, liking and tweeting every aspect of their life continues to grow.
The truth is that your employees sneak in the occasional glance at the Facebook feed and the occasional tweet here and there. Should you care? The answer is yes, you most definitely should.
You might be asking yourself: How exactly can this be done? Will you be hampering their rights to freely post whatever content they see fit for their social networks? Should you just ban them from accessing their social media sites at work completely? ; Something that has been done in many companies before. What exactly is the proper way to go about this sensitive issue?
A waitress was fired for venting about a customer on Facebook. A woman lost a job offer at Cisco because of something she said on Twitter. These incidents illustrate why it might be wise to create a social media policy for your employees.
Below are some of the different approaches that these companies use to manage their employees social media usage and maybe you can borrow some of these techniques for you to use yourself.
Coca-Cola’s social media principles are guided by their shared values and outline how these values should be demonstrated in the online social media space. Coca-Cola guides employees, for both individual participation, as well as participation on behalf of the company
• Transparency in every social media engagement. The Company does not condone manipulating the social media flow by creating “fake” destinations and posts designed to mislead followers and control a conversation.
• Respect of copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity, and other third party rights in the online social media space, including with regard to user generated content.
Coca-Cola’s policy also covers and sets expectations for spokespeople, associates, and its authorized agencies.
2. Nation Media Group
As an NMG journalist, it makes little difference whether you identify yourself on social media as such or not since your actions will almost always be linked back to your profession and ultimately to NMG as your employer.
• Publishing of News Content – Journalists are generally discouraged from publishing any news item in their personal accounts unless it has been approved and published on an NMG outlet.
• Social Networking Sites – All NMG staff should be mindful of the information they disclose on social networking sites and be careful of who has access to it. They should act in a manner which does not bring NMG into disrepute.
• Political Activities on Social Networking sites – NMG journalists should never indicate their political allegiance or inclinations on social networking sites. The risk of breaching this requirement lies in profile information or through joining political groups on sites such as Facebook.
• Offensive Material/Tone of Voice – Incitement to violence or anti-social behavior or comments likely to cause extreme offense, for example racist, religious, gender or ethnic insults or stereotypes, are not allowed on any Nation Media Group branded space on the social media. Neither is material which is likely to put a child or teenager at substantial risk of harm.
Adidas is one of the market giants in the sports apparel manufacturing industry and has offices and employees situated all around the globe. Adidas takes a very encouraging but strict approach when it comes to their Social Media Guidelines. Here are some highlights from Adidas’ Social Media Policy:
• Employees are allowed to associate themselves with the company when posting but they must clearly brand their online posts as personal and purely their own. The company should not be held liable for any repercussions the employees’ content may generate.
• Content pertaining to sensitive company information (particularly those found within Adidas internal networks) should not be shared to the outside online community. Divulging information like the company’s design plans, internal operations and legal matters are prohibited.
• Proper copyright and reference laws should be observed by employees when posting online.
You may already have a confidentiality agreement but it might not be enough. Adding a few lines in the employee handbook to clarify that the confidentiality agreement covers employee interactions on social media sites might suffice.