June 4, 2012 8.55 am This story is over 136 months old

Does your company have a social media policy?

Social media at work: With great power comes great responsibility on Facebook and Twitter, explains Lava’s Adam Thorndike.

— Adam Thorndike is the digital PR manager at Lava, an award-winning marketing agency based in Lincoln. In an expert comment series for The Lincolnite, Lava share their tips and advice on all things marketing and PR.

Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook provide organisations with incredibly powerful profile-raising tools, but as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility.

Not everyone thinks before posting on a Facebook wall or sending out a tweet. Sometimes, people think they can behave differently on social media compared to other business or work related situations.

So many people vent their frustrations with their colleagues or employers on Facebook but they’d never say the same thing out loud in the middle of their office (and if they did, they’d probably be fired!). There have been cases where inappropriate Facebook updates have led to disciplinary action or redundancy.

Just a few weeks ago, following a Freedom of Information Request, BBC News reported that three people at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Wales were dismissed for inappropriate use of social media.

One person made inappropriate comments about their employer and its customers. Another person criticised colleagues and the DVLA on Facebook and Twitter, whilst the third person to lose their job referred to a colleague on Facebook.

Thus acting responsibly on social media is crucial. But how we do you define ‘responsibly’? With a social media policy, that’s how.

A social media policy sets out how, when and for what purposes employees and agencies working for an organisation can use social media for.

It doesn’t need to be a lengthy document but it does need to part of your company handbook.

  • When putting together a policy, you need to think about:
  • Which platforms can people use?
  • What they can and cannot talk about
  • When during the working day are people allowed to use social media
  • What is the role of social media in your organisation – customer service, marketing, PR?
  • What tone of voice should people adopt on social media?
  • What should people do if they make a mistake on social media?

There are lots of helpful resources available online and a quick online search for ‘social media policy’ should reveal something helpful but if you’d like me to send you Lava’s social media policy as a starter for ten, just drop me a line.

Adam Thorndike is the digital PR manager at Lava, an award-winning marketing agency based in Lincoln.