As organizations realize that instead of tweeting solicitous sales pitches, the true benefit of social media is empowering everyone in the enterprise to serve as unofficial brand ambassadors, explaining the rules of public disclosure to employees has become increasingly important.
Pre-Internet, elaborate, detailed corporate policies on public disclosure weren’t necessary.
A line or two in the corporate code of conduct policy sufficed.
Companies hired marketing and public relations professionals and let them do their jobs.
They were professional spokespeople who understood that impact a public record has over brands.
But a world where a public disclosure is as easy as a Facebook status update or a tweet, setting forth clear-cut guidelines and boundaries for what is, and is not permissible through corporate social media policy has become central to effective online communications strategy.
After reviewing dozens of corporate social media policies, I created this free Social Media Policy Template to accelerate policy development initiatives for organizations of all sizes.I also wrote a Social Media Policy Development Whitepaper and produced a free Social Media Policy Development Training Course which may be useful if you’re tasked with drafting corporate governance around online communications in the workplace.
While I do believe this social media policy template is very comprehensive, I do not subscribe to a one-size-fits-all policy development approach. Just as no two organizations are exactly alike, the right social media policy should accurately reflect your organization’s management style.
Nevertheless, to get you started, here’s my social media policy template, which includes:
- Policy Statement — An overview statement designed to manage the reader’s expectations about what they will find in the policy.
- Definitions — Explanations of specific social media related terms used in the policy.
- Objectives — Specifically what the social media policy is designed to achieve.
- Guiding Principles — Over arching principles on which the policy is based. These may be situational or aspirational depending on a company’s brand management style.
- Practical Guidelines — Best practices for social media community engagement with clear-cut boundaries of what is and is not permissible.
- Penalties — Consequences of noncompliance.
My social media policy template was developed through my work with the US Armed Forces and large organizations and with the aid of many online sources, who are listed in the bibliography.
I hope you find it useful. I am grateful to those who contributed, and to my clients for sponsoring the many months that went into creating this corporate social media policy corporate template.