Social Media Policy for Employees
Social media has come a long way in the 20 years since it entered the mainstream via early blogs and AOL. At the time, businesses didn’t need to consider developing policies around social media, but today it’s essential to implement policies around how your employees conduct themselves on the internet. With the popularity of social Your employees are more visible than ever in the social media age and if they publicly express views that contradict the values of your company, you could end up doing damage control. Many employers object to the use of social media being used on company computers. If there is a legal case involving your company, social media posts are treated the same as any other documentary evidence in a case. Problems emerge in court because documents—unlike one-on-one conversations—live forever and can be twisted and taken out of context.
Social media strategies are no longer really optional if employers want to adapt to the quickly changing social media ecosystem. You have the authority to oversee how your staff members utilize work-based software. And, with the help of a lawyer, you can create policies for how your employees represent your company through their social media accounts.
Addressing Social Media in Your Employee Handbook
Because social media is always changing, there is no unified legal definition of “social media,” which can refer to everything from business networking to artistic expression. In order to ensure your protection, define the phrase before you start developing your social media policy. Social media are “means of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content” as defined by Webster’s Dictionary. With this as a foundation, you can expand the definition of social media to include specific platforms.
Additionally, we advise that you reserve the right to alter this definition to take into account future changes as the internet develops. Additionally, you should be able to decide what constitutes a social media infraction on a case-by-case basis.
Things to keep in mind when creating your social media policy
Your employee handbook needs to cover a range of potential social media issues. Employers frequently advise against using a personal social media account whether it is to defend the company or criticize its policies.
Protection of trade secrets is equally significant. Establishing what constitutes corporate trade secrets and sensitive information, as well as prohibiting its dissemination via social media, is important. Employees should be asked to follow your social media policy both on and off the clock.
Your social media policy should reflect the principles of your business. You should have a clear non-discrimination policy in place and forbid employees from using a social media account that mentions their employment for any improper purposes. For instance, you may indicate that while your business does not accept discrimination on the basis of color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or handicap, it does have the right to monitor an employee’s public social media accounts. It’s also crucial to have a thorough policy in place for handling infractions of social media policies. Seek the advice of a lawyer to ensure that any policy restricting employees in this way does not violate their first amendment rights.