How To Write A Social Media Policy

By Cara Friedman Congratulations! You've decided you need to create a social media policy. Whether to protect your trade secrets, cover yourself legally, monitor your company reputation, or avoid a social media crisis , you have chosen to be responsible and proactively put a policy in place for your employees. Now, where do you begin?

The following are some basic principles that will help you write your social media policy:

State the Purpose. Discussing regulations around someone's personal sites can be scary. Employees don't want to feel that their outside activities and personal lives are being monitored or are affecting their jobs. To ease their concerns and get buy-in early, state your intentions up front and explain the purpose of your policy.

Expect Transparency. There is no need to encourage your employees to hide the fact that they work at your company. Their job is probably a large part of their life. It will be natural to share facts about their work day on social sites. Ask employees to be transparent about where they work, but remind them that social sites are seen by everyone--not just their friends.

Protect Confidential Information. It's one thing to be transparent. It's another thing to share confidential information on the internet. Your social media policy is the place to remind your employees that the internet is written in ink; it is no place to discuss the inner workings of your organization.

Layout the Do's and Don't's. Should you tell your employees what they can and cannot do on their social media sites? In some ways, yes. Work/life balance has become blurred thanks to social media. What they post can be a reflection of your company. So it is perfectly okay for you to write out your expectations of your employees when it comes to sharing online.

Professionalism First and Foremost. You should always expect professionalism. If you sent an employee to an event to represent your company, you would expect them to be themselves, but be professional. The same should go for social media.

Does your company have a social media policy? What do you include? Share in the comments below!

For additional reading, here are 5 examples of great social media policies in action.