I get asked all the time about Social Media Policies – and how to create one, how detailed or broad it should be, find great examples of…. so imagine my delight when I came across this amazing tool “Policy Tool for Social Media , and found a process unlike any other i have seen to help create simple yet complete social media policies.
It took me about 30 minutes total including proofing to Impact People Practices’ Social Media Policy and I wanted to share the final result with you. This is a great tool, easy to use… and best of all, it’s FREE.
Impact People Practices Social Media Policy
This policy governs the publication of and commentary on social media by employees and contractors of Impact People Practices and its related companies (“Impact People Practices”). For the purposes of this policy, social media means any facility for online publication and commentary, including without limitation blogs, wiki’s, social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. This policy is in addition to and complements any existing or future policies regarding the use of technology, computers, e-mail and the internet.
Impact People Practices employees and contractors acting on behalf of Impact People Practices are free to publish or comment via social media in accordance with this policy. Impact People Practices employees/contractors are subject to this policy to the extent they identify themselves as a Impact People Practices employee/contractor (other than as an incidental mention of place of employment in a personal blog on topics unrelated to Impact People Practices).
Publication and commentary on social media carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary.
All uses of social media must follow the same ethical standards that Impact People Practices employees must otherwise follow.
Setting up Social Media
Assistance in setting up social media accounts and their settings can be obtained from Impact People Practices’s Christine McLeod.
Social media identities, logon ID’s and user names may not use Impact People Practices’s name without prior approval from the Christine McLeod.
Don’t Tell Secrets
It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about your work and have a dialog with the community, but it’s not okay to publish confidential information. Confidential information includes things such as unpublished details about our clients, details of current projects, future product ship dates, financial information, research, and trade secrets. We must respect the wishes of our clients regarding the confidentiality of current projects. We must also be mindful of the competitiveness of our industry.
Protect your own privacy
Privacy settings on social media platforms should be set to allow anyone to see profile information similar to what would be on the Impact People Practices website. Other privacy settings that might allow others to post information or see information that is personal should be set to limit access. Be mindful of posting information that you would not want the public to see.
Do not blog anonymously, using pseudonyms or false screen names. We believe in transparency and honesty. Use your real name, be clear who you are, and identify that you work for Impact People Practices. Nothing gains you notice in social media more than honesty – or dishonesty. Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue, or misleading. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, point it out. But also be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. What you publish will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully and also be cautious about disclosing personal details.
Respect copyright laws
It is critical that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others, including Impact People Practices own copyrights and brands. You should never quote more than short excerpts of someone else’s work, and always attribute such work to the original author/source. It is good general practice to link to others’ work rather than reproduce it.
Respect your audience, Impact People Practices, and your coworkers
The public in general, and Impact People Practices’s employees, contractors and customers, reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Don’t say anything contradictory or in conflict with the Impact People Practices website. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully. This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs, offensive comments, defamatory comments, personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory – such as politics and religion. Use your best judgment and be sure to make it clear that the views and opinions expressed are yours alone and do not represent the official views of Impact People Practices.
Protect Impact People Practices customers, business partners and suppliers
Customers, partners or suppliers should not be cited or obviously referenced without their approval. Never identify a customer, partner or supplier by name without permission and never discuss confidential details of a customer engagement. It is acceptable to discuss general details about kinds of projects and to use non-identifying pseudonyms for a customer (e.g., Customer 123) so long as the information provided does not violate any non-disclosure agreements that may be in place with the customer or make it easy for someone to identify the customer. Your blog is not the place to “conduct business” with a customer.
If you see misrepresentations made about Impact People Practices in the media, you may point that out. Always do so with respect and with the facts. If you speak about others, make sure what you say is factual and that it does not disparage that party. Avoid arguments. Brawls may earn traffic, but nobody wins in the end. Don’t try to settle scores or goad competitors or others into inflammatory debates. Make sure what you are saying is factually correct.
Be the first to respond to your own mistakes
If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly – better to remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of a legal action.
Think About Consequences
For example, consider what might happen if a Impact People Practices employee/contractor is in a meeting with a customer or prospect, and someone on the customer’s side pulls out a print-out of your blog and says “This person at Impact People Practices says that product sucks.”
Saying “Product X needs to have an easier learning curve for the first-time user” is fine; saying “Product X sucks” is risky, unsubtle and amateurish.
Once again, it’s all about judgment: using your blog to trash or embarrass Impact People Practices, our customers, or your co-workers, is dangerous and ill-advised.
Many social media users include a prominant disclaimer saying who they work for, but that they’re not speaking officially. This is good practice and is encouraged, but don’t count on it to avoid trouble – it may not have much legal effect.
Christine McLeod can provide you with applicable disclaimer language and assist with determining where and how to use that.
Don’t forget your day job.
Make sure that blogging does not interfere with your job or commitments to customers.
Social Media Tips
The following tips are not mandatory, but will contribute to successful use of social media. The best way to be interesting, stay out of trouble, and have fun is to write about what you know. There is a good chance of being embarrassed by a real expert, or of being boring if you write about topics you are not knowledgeable about. Quality matters. Use a spell-checker. If you’re not design-oriented, ask someone who is whether your blog looks decent, and take their advice on how to improve it. The speed of being able to publish your thoughts is both a great feature and a great downfall of social media. The time to edit or reflect must be self-imposed. If in doubt over a post, or if something does not feel right, either let it sit and look at it again before publishing it, or ask someone else to look at it first.
Policy violations will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination for cause.
About policy Tool
PolicyTool is a policy generator that simplifies the process of creating guidelines that respect the rights of your employees while protecting your brand online. It’s easy. The streamlined process simply requires you to answer a brief questionnaire and provides you with a complete Social Media Policy customized to your company.PolicyTool has been developed by rtraction in collaboration with Harrison Pensa lawyer David R. Canton, one of Canada’s leading authorities in internet and technology related legal issues