5 elements of a social media policy that works — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

5 elements of a social media policy that works

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social media and magnifying glassSocial media can enhance your company’s communication with employees, customers and partners—but it requires careful management.

Any tool or service that facilitates conversations over the Internet is considered social media. The term applies not only to commonly used platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, blogs and wikis, but also to any other platforms that include user conversations.

While social media can improve an organization’s image and communication, it can also present risks to companies that don’t have a clear policy defining how employees may use it.

In determining your organization’s social media policy, it makes sense to see what other companies have developed. Computer maker Dell, for example, presents five policies, written in easy-to-read language, that define the parameters for usage:

1. Protect information. Never share confidential company or customer information. Remember that a Web posting is forever—once it’s online, it is next to impossible to erase.

2. Be transparent and disclose. Nothing should be posted anonymously. Always disclose your name and where you are employed.

3. Follow the law and code of conduct. Carefully review what you have written. Is it accurate? Does it follow your company’s social media strategy and code of conduct? Have you complied with the site’s guidelines? Some sites have restrictions that are based on local laws, and some platforms cite their own unique terms of service.

4. Be responsible. Never take it upon yourself to speak for the company. Your audience should know that your comments do not in any way constitute an official company response. Think before you send off your comments.

Ask yourself, “Would you feel comfortable if your comments showed up in your manager’s in-box, your co-worker’s Twitter feed or the front page of the newspaper?”

5. Be nice, have fun and connect. Use social media wisely, not recklessly. Certainly, social media is a place to have conversations and build connections. But remember, you are having a conversation, not pushing an agenda.

The goal is to work together to build your brand, so make sure to do it the right way.

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