The 10 Ds of Creating a Social Media Use Policy

By Mikal E. Belicove|For|January 24, 2012

There’s been no shortage of news these days about companies getting in trouble because of what they or a third-party marketers have done when taking to the socially-powered airwaves.

A common theme among those who find themselves caught in the crosshairs of the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Trade Commission or even a company’s own employees is that the companies involved usually don’t have a social media use policy in place. Or if they had such a policy in writing, they didn’t do enough to educate their staff about the costs associated with ignoring the rules.

If you’re confused about why your company needs a social media use policy, I recommend reading “Social Media and Your Company’s Acceptable Use Policy.” If you’re gearing up to create a social media use policy of your own, here are ten steps:

  1. Define “social media” clearly. That way you’ll avoid confusion about what exactly the Social Media Use Policy refers to.
  2. Distinguish between “guidelines” and “policy.” Don’t confuse one for the other, because they are inherently different. Guidelines attempt to simplify a process, whereas policies are compulsory.
  3. Document your goals and strategies. Share why your company or organization chooses to use social media. Make your goals and the strategies known as part of the policy document to help ensure that everyone is on the same page with the company’s basic premise for using social media in the first place.
  4. Differentiate between utilities. If you have guidelines or policies associated with specific social utilities, networks or resources (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, wikis, company-owned online communities) identify them by name and be specific about what policies and guidelines apply to each.
  5. Describe what’s…

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