3 key elements your social media policy is missing

If your policy doesn’t give employees approved descriptions of your brand and examples of how to interact online, it’s missing some critical information.

It’s common for companies to issue HR handbooks that detail acceptable and unacceptable Internet practices. Unfortunately, many of these documents don’t outline how employees should represent themselves and the brand when they communicate online with friends, family, colleagues, clients and vendors.

If you’ve already drafted a social media policy for your company, you’re ahead of the curve, but there may be a few key points missing from your document.

For companies that don’t have a social media policy just yet, don’t worry. These recommendations will be helpful when you’re ready to put something on paper.

1. Clearly state brand standards.

Within your social media policy, include an approved description of your brand. It’s surprising to see the number of employees who use inappropriate acronyms or simply misspell the name of their organization.

Make it clear that individuals who link their online identities with the company and disclose their employment should incorporate the approved language into their online profiles. This ensures a consistent and cohesive brand presence.

2. Know who is accountable.

Depending on the size of your organization, you may have anywhere from dozens to hundreds of employees who actively participate online. In some cases, those employees may be the first people to come in contact with feedback from current and prospective customers.

Within your policy, it may be a good idea to list more than marketing or communications specialists as the point people for anything social media related. Consider adding sales, customer service or product development to the mix. If customers have feedback, it’s worth having more than just marketing playing an active role in the response.

3. Recommend ways to engage.

Most social media policies are, well, policies. They contain a long list of things employees should avoid. Consider adding suggestions for how employees should use social media to connect with co-workers and the public.

Offer examples of networking scenarios and clearly communicate your company’s expectations. If your brand isn’t quite ready to let employees network and connect with public audiences, you may want to skip this section.

For examples of social media policies used by companies of all sizes, check out Social Media Governance.

Does your company have a social media policy? What key elements would you add?

Chesnutt is social media director at Identity. A version of this article originally ran on Dbusiness.com.

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