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The Boomer Bulletin - 2010
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Should Your Firm Have a Social Media Policy?

Posted By Jon Hubbard, Monday, October 18, 2010
Jon Hubbard

Firms are realizing that their employees are active on social media sites on a daily basis. As a result, firms are being represented by the profiles their firm names are listed on as well as the conversations taking place. In order to protect the integrity and reputation of your firm, you must consider developing a social media policy. This policy will outline for employees the firm’s guidelines, principles and ideals of communicating in the online world. This policy should help shape the actions and communication your employees have online, not stop them. Below are some guidelines for creating a social media policy for your firm.

  1. Be Positive!

    It is important to begin your social media policy with a positive tone. State the purpose of the policy and encourage your employees to continue engaging with others on social networking sites. However, stress that these guidelines will help everyone open up a respectful, knowledgeable interaction with people on the internet. They also protect the privacy, confidentiality, and interests of your firm and your current and potential services, employees, partners, customers and competitors. Your employees will most likely understand and respect this.

  2. Include Guidelines for Your Firm’s Social Networking Profiles & Blogs

    If your firm is one of the many that are utilizing social media to promote your business, create a public personae and make your firm more accessible, then stating the guidelines and policies for these efforts is a necessity. Here are some items this section of your policy should touch on:

    • Only authorized employees have the ability to post on the firm’s social networking profiles and blogs
    • Confidential and proprietary information should not be shared
    • Speak respectfully about the firm and current and potential employees, customers, partners and competitors
    • Honor the privacy rights of your firm’s current employees by seeking their permission before writing about, posting photos or displaying internal company happenings

  3. Include Guidelines for Your Employees’ Social Networking Profiles & Blogs

    Most likely, your employees have your firm’s name listed as their employer on their social networking profiles. As a result, they are becoming unofficial representatives of your firm. Here are some items this section of your policy should touch on:

    • If your personal social networking profile mentions the firm name and/or current and potential services, employees, partners, customers, and competitors, identify that the views expressed on your profile are yours alone and do not represent the views of the company
    • Despite disclaimers, your web interactions can result in members of the public forming opinions about the firm and its employees, partners, and services
    • Confidential and proprietary information should not be shared
    • Logo and trademarks may not be used without explicit permissions in writing from the firm

The suggestions above are not meant to be all inclusive. They are merely suggestions to consider when your firm is creating their social media policy. As with all policies, it is best if you have your firm’s attorney review it before it is distributed.

If your firm would like assistance with your social media strategy and/or the development of your social media policy, please contact Eric Hunt @ eric.hunt@boomer.com. We’d be happy to assist you.

Feel free to add me to your professional network on LinkedIn.

If you’d like to join the Boomer Consulting, Inc. group on LinkedIn and take part in the discussions, join here.

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