Does Your Company Have a Defined Social Media Policy?

Critical Factors for Defining One

Social media is here to stay; there is no doubt about it. So there better be policies and procedures in place today, if not yesterday! The main reason it is so essential is due to the very nature of social media; it happens in real-time, so the best policy is to create a training program and have adequate policies that prevent any mishaps, especially at work. Protecting your organization and your employees through clearly defined social media policies can go a long way to circumventing disaster on both sides of the desk.

Core Principles Employers Need to Know

According to, employers must accept the following if they are currently behind the eight ball regarding social media:

  • Policies dealing with social media, email, and the internet, in general, must exist, period.
  • The policy must be reviewed and updated periodically to take into account changes in the workplace.
  • When the policy is updated, employees must be informed immediately.
  • Employers must be consistent when implementing the policy; no single employee should ever be singled out for a particular treatment.
  • There must be stipulations for two types of social media:
    • Non-job related social media use outside the business environment
    • Job-related social media used as part of the employee’s job

Non-Job Related Social Media Policy

A recent Inside Counsel Magazine article states that a social media policy for outside or not directly related to the organization often gets the most attention. This is due to the simple fact that every employer has employees and those employees use social media. Therefore, when formulating your social media policy for use outside of the work environment, employers should consider the following key factors:

  • Employees are expected to abide by employers’ Code of Conduct and other conduct-related workplace policies (i.e., Anti-Harassment and equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies)
  • Employees must protect the company’s confidential information, non-public sales, marketing, product, and financial information, and co-worker medical and personal information.
  • Employees must always speak for themselves and not the company
  • Employees should have no expectation of privacy if information/data is being transferred on the company’s email, voicemail, or computer network; encompassing both landline and wireless transmission
  • Consider restricting social media use during work hours and have consequences for their actions if it is overused or abused

Job-Related Social Media Policy

When social media use is deemed part of an employee’s job description, it is crucial to formulate a separate policy with the following considerations:

  • Disclosure; Employees must clearly state who they are within the organization and that they are communicating on behalf of the organization
  • Ownership; the company owns the account being used. Therefore, the employee can not change the username/password, account, or take contacts or connections associated with the social channel for their personal use.
  • Editing content; the company has the right to edit, delete or change the content written or posted by the employee.
  • Comply with copyright and intellectual property laws; the employee must link back to the relevant source.
  • Comply with financial disclosure laws; make sure securities and corporate governance issues are being addressed (i.e., do not use misleading statements about the company’s products and services)

Need Help With Your Social Media Policies?

SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can help you formulate a viable Electronic Communication policy. Call 330-255-1101 to speak with one of our professionals about social media security training or policy maintenance programs today!