Social media policies can establish clear rules and policies for employees’ social media use. But how do you know if it is thorough yet easy-to-follow and not too strict, too lengthy to read or understand, or even illegal?
The intention of a typical social media policy is to restrict employees from using blogs, social networking sites or personal websites to disparage the company, its associates, customers, vendors, business practices, patients, or other employees of the company.
Employee policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an independent federal agency, has found reasonable cause in some cases to believe that some policies and disciplinary actions violated federal labor law. In other cases, investigations found that the communications were not protected, and so disciplinary actions were not in violation.
Transparency and clear expectations can help you find the balance you need so your social media policy is thorough enough and easy-to-follow. When crafting your social media policy or updating an existing one, here are a few tips to get you on the right track:
Make sure you provide guidelines about what is and what isn’t considered social media for your company. A clear-cut outline of what your company includes or doesn’t include as social media will help keep all employees on the same page.
Identify what content is acceptable to post and what is off-limits: company logo and trademarked images; responses to online feedback regarding the company; or personal pictures in company uniform or with company equipment.
Establish basic online etiquette rules, including usage of inflammatory language and offensive images.
Your policy can identify who in your company has control over the company’s official social media accounts and who has authority to respond to online comments on behalf of the company.
Employers can request that employees add a disclaimer to their personal social pages and/or to posts they make referencing the company, such as “The views on this page are my personal comments and are not on behalf of the company.”
Do you have a social media policy in your employee handbook? If you’d like help developing a social media policy specifically designed for your company, contact Vinna Human Resources today!