A Template To Help Start Your Social Media Policy

by Corey Creed on Nov 24, 2010
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Still working on your social media policy?  Not sure where to start?  What should it include?

In previous posts, I helped explain the difference between a social media policy or plan.  I also detailed 5 principles to keep in mind regarding a social media policy.  But now it’s time to actually write one.  Below is a sample social media policy.  It is not meant to be used, but to be copied and edited.

NOTE:  Neither myself nor Social Fresh is to be held accountable for the wording and content of the below sample.  We are not lawyers and the below is simply a sample for your review.  Each business and individual will need to involve their own legal team and any other necessary individuals for this important task.

Sample Social Media Policy

1. The Purpose

  1. The same principles and guidelines that apply to employees in general, apply to activities online.  However, due to the nature of the Internet, more accountability is to be expected.
  2. Social media is largely about connecting, helping others, and having fun.
  3. Social media is also a valuable resource to learn and to contribute.
  4. Social media is more than just Facebook and Twitter.  It includes blogs, online networks, and any other Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information.

2. Expectations

  1. Be helpful and supportive, even while not at work.
  2. Be respectful to your employers, coworkers, and even competitors.  (This includes past, present, and potential coworkers.)
  3. Each individual is responsible for what they post online, even while not at work.
  4. Make it clear that the words and thoughts you write online are your own and not your employer’s.
  5. Speak in the first person (I not we) when referring to your work.
  6. Each individual should choose for themselves if they will use social media.
  7. You are legally liable for anything you write or present online.
  8. Employees can be appropriately disciplined and/or sued by the company for commentary, content, videos, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous, or can create a hostile work environment.

3. Be Respectful and Kind

  1. You are encouraged to share your insights, express your opinion, and share information as appropriate, especially when it is helpful to others.
  2. Try to add value to what others are doing and saying.
  3. Please post knowledgeably, accurately, and use appropriate professionalism.
  4. Be quick to correct your own mistakes and admit when you are wrong.
  5. Do not use ethnic slurs, insults, obscenities, etc.
  6. Do not engage in conduct that would not be acceptable behavior.
  7. Be considerate of others’ privacy and topics that could be considered personal, such as religion or politics.
  8. Do not pick fights.

4. Identity

  1. Please be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy online.
  2. Your online presence reflects the company.  Be aware that your actions captured via images, videos, posts, or comments can reflect that of the company.
  3. Unless given permission by your manager, you are not authorized to speak on behalf of the company, nor to represent that you do so.
  4. We discourage the use of posting online anonymously, using pseudonyms, or false screen names.  We believe in honesty and appropriate transparency.
  5. When appropriate, please direct others to the official website and social media accounts of the company.

5. Protect Confidential & Proprietary Info

  1. We believe in good communication between employees, partners, customers, and the general public.
  2. Never reveal any confidential and/or proprietary information.
  3. Never identify customers, partners, or suppliers by name without permission.
  4. Do not cite or reference clients, partners, or suppliers without their approval.  If you do make a reference, link back to the source if possible.
  5. Always respect copyright and trademark laws, including logos.
  6. Do not plagiarize others.
  7. If you have any question on what has been released to the public, speak with your manager and/or the Public Relations department.  Do so before releasing information that could potentially harm the company, our current or potential products, employees, partners, and customers.

Please leave your comments and questions below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this sample social media policy.

Post Author

Corey Creed was the Director of Training for Social Fresh. He worked closely with the Social Fresh Academy and other online and offline training initiatives for Social Fresh. He has also served as the President of HIPPO Internet...

  • Policies are a great start, but compliance in a large organization is a challenge. Tools that manage workflow, inventory assets and establish benchmarks for success are the next step to deploying an enterprise wide strategy.

  • Toni Jacaruso

    I have struggled to write some simple guidelines that won’t discourage the use of Social Media or put so many constraints around it that it prevents employees from expressing themselves freely (kind of!). I really appreciate your direct and simple suggestions. It’s written well and isn’t complicated. Why didn’t I think of that? Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Glad you liked it. I appreciate the feedback.

  • Missy Jensen

    This is very helpful! You can see the current social media guidelines I put in place with a client of mine at http://www.slideshare.net/DMEautomotive/dmeautomotives-corporate-social-media-guidelines. However, I think we’ll probably address the issue again after reading the post above, as I’d like to include some of the points you’ve mentioned. Thanks! VERY useful information.

  • Anonymous

    You’re welcome. Glad to hear you found some parts helpful.

  • Anonymous

    So true. In fact, I think compliance, workflow, assets and benchmarks are the key to the entire business, not just social media strategy. Right?

  • Marilou

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for  this quick guideline, Corey! I like it because it’s easy to understand, not a lot of gibberish (like many social media policies). Our small staff is mostly Gen-Y’ers, and a quick read is all they ever give anything. This works!

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  • Glad to hear it.

  • Reset me

    i don’t know how or where a person is supposed to let go and have fun if we are always supposed to be helpful and supportive ‘always’ – nobody can always be helpful and supportive – we are human – we have human moments – we mess up – its normal and natural to not be helpful and supportive all the time

  • Jodi

    Thanks Corey! I love the simplicity.

  • Hi Corey, I sharing this on my blog—Thanks! Good stuff!

  • Elizar Mytka

    What a great guideline! Thankyou:)