The rules of online engagement

Planning ahead and setting clear policies about online communications can go a long way toward avoiding legal missteps and embarrassing situations. Video

Planning ahead and setting clear policies about online communications can go a long way toward avoiding legal missteps and embarrassing situations

The influx of social media tools—blogs, social networks, wikis, text messaging—provides companies with many ways to speak with employees and the public. But these initiatives are often new territory for the corporate communicator. And without proper forethought and planning, mistakes can turn into legal headaches.

“There are no do-overs in digital media,” says Dallas Lawrence, vice president for Levick Strategic Communications, Inc., and head of the firm’s digital media practice. “That’s why it is so important for companies to have systems and policies in place in advance that tell employees what the rules are for blogging internally, and for blogging and social networking externally.”

Here’s a look at what precautions you should take internally and externally.

Establish a clear online communications policy

Companies need to define the rules for online communications, right down to what employees can say about their job and work environment on social networks—even after hours.

IBM and Sun Microsystems are two companies who encourage employees to blog.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.