Even just a few years ago, many company managers rightly assumed that a Social Media Policy was all about limiting employees’ use of the internet. The priority was to prevent workers from spending company time buying on-line, conducting personal business on-line and, truth be told, watching pornography. It was all about e-mail and personal internet use. Now however, with the growing importance of the internet to a company’s marketing efforts and even now as a distribution and sales channel, it is prudent for small businesses to clearly articulate and communicate their Social Media Policy.
HRInsights would ask you to consider the following 4 subjects when developing your small business Social Media Policy. For those old enough just take out the word “social”, and you might see a rough version of the company’s former Media Policy.
- No employee or other compensated representative of the company is able to speak on behalf of the company to any outside individual or organization, whether they be a partner, supplier, competitor, customer, or member of the press without his/her manager’s permission. If you are approached, please refer the inquiring party to the General Manager or other person who has been designated to handle outside inquiries.
- No employee or other compensated representative of the company can share or otherwise publish confidential and/or proprietary information about the company. This includes but is not limited to information about employees, existing products, new products, services, trademarks, strategies, financial information, and any information that has not been publicly shared by the company.
2. Company References:
- Inform your manager if you intend to develop a site or a blog where you mention and/or provide opinions and perspectives about the company, its employees, partners, competitors, customers, or current or future products.
- Company logos, artwork and trademarks are not allowed to be used in employee personal communication in the internet, blogs, or in other social media unless otherwise approved in writing by your immediate supervisor.
3. Competitive activities:
- Employees or compensated representatives of the company are prohibited from selling, distributing and/or promoting the sale of products and/or services that compete directly with the company’s products and service.
4. Privacy Rights:
- Employee communications over the internet, in blogs and other social media must show respect to the company, its products and services, other employees, suppliers, customers, distributors. Wrongful statements or misrepresentations of any above-mentioned constituent which is not viewed favorably by management can result in disciplinary actions up to and including termination.
- Employee communications over the internet, in blogs and other social media must identify the author as an employee of the company and must contain an appropriate disclaimer that his/her views are personal and not intended to represent those of the company and its employees.
- Out of respect for privacy, it is always good practice to get written permission from those parties and/or individuals who are mentioned in communications published over the internet.