This Sample Social Media Policy is the result of over two-years of research, extensive interviews with stakeholders from multiple corporate and government agencies and more than a decade of experience serving clients as a strategic communications consultant, with a specialty in online communications, web design, search engine optimization and, since its advent, social media.
On Jan. 25, 2012, the US National Labor Relations Board issued their second social media report, offering further clarification over an earlier compilation of cases it released August 18, 2011, available as a PDF. This revised social media policy template takes into account the NLRB's guidance to human resource professionals for the lawful development of social media policies for employees.
Social media policies are not one size fits all. The right policy for your organization will (1) reinforce your organization's existing corporate culture and (2) provide practical guidance to those governed by the social media policy.
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A. Policy StatementWhether or not a
The same principles and guidelines that apply to the activities of
1. Social Media Channels - Blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, social networks, social bookmarking services, user rating services and any other online collaboration, sharing or publishing platform, whether accessed through the web, a mobile device, text messaging, email or any other existing or emerging communications platform.
2. Social Media Account A personalized presence inside a social networking channel, initiated at will by an individual. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social networking channels allow users to sign-up for their own social media account, which they can use to collaborate, interact and share content and status updates. When a user communicates through a social media account, their disclosures are attributed to their User Profile.
3. Social Media Disclosures - Blog posts, blog comments, status updates, text messages, posts via email, images, audio recordings, video recordings or any other information made available through a social media channel. Social media disclosures are the actual communications a user distributes through a social media channel, usually by means of their social media account.
4. External vs. Internal Social Media Channels External social media channels are social media services that do not reside at a
5. User Profile Social Media Account holders customize their User Profile within a Social Media Channel with specific information about themselves which can be made available others users.
6. Copyrights Copyrights protect the right of an author to control the reproduction and use of any creative expression that has been fixed in tangible form, such as literary works, graphical works, photographic works, audiovisual works, electronic works and musical works. It is illegal to reproduce and use copyrighted material through social media channels without the permission of the copyright owner.
7. Hosted Content Text, pictures, audio, video or other information in digital form that is uploaded and resides in the social media account of the author of a social media disclosure. If you download content off of the Internet, and then upload it to your social media account, you are hosting that content. This distinction is important because it is generally illegal to host copyrighted content publicly on the Internet without first obtaining the permission of the copyright owner.
8. Embed Codes Unique codes that are provided to entice others to share online content without requiring the sharer to host that content. By means of an embed code, it is possible to display a YouTube user’s video in someone else’s social media account without requiring that person to host the source video file. This distinction is important because embed codes are often used by copyright owners to encourage others to share their content via social media channels.
9. Controversial Issues Issues that form the basis of heated debate, often identified in political campaigns as wedge issues, since they provoke a strong emotional response. Examples include political views, health care reform, gun control and abortion. Religious beliefs may also be controversial, particularly to those intolerant of beliefs different from their own.
11. Inbound Links An inbound link is a hyperlink that transits from one domain to another. A hyperlink that transits from an external domain to your own domain is referred to as inbound link. Inbound links are important because they play a role in how search engines rank pages and domains in search results.
12. Link Bartering Exchanges Trading or purchasing inbound links from other domains exclusively for the purposes of lifting your domain in search engine page results.
13. Tweets and Retweets A tweet is a 140 character social media disclosure distributed on the Twitter micro-blogging service. Retweets are tweets from one Twitter user that are redistributed by another Twitter user. Retweets are how information propagates on Twitter.
C. Objectives1. Establish practical, reasonable and enforceable guidelines by which our
3. Prepare our company
4. Protect our company
D. Guiding Principles1. Our organizations
2. Only those officially designated can use social media to speak on behalf of
3. When you see misrepresentations made about
4. Different social media channels have proper and improper business uses. For example, members of social networks are expected to read, and when appropriate respond, to questions asked of them from another member of their social network. It is important for
5. Employees are responsible for ensuring that all contractors, vendors and agencies that the company has a formal relationship with have received and agreed to abide by these guidelines in writing.
6. Employees are responsible for making sure that their online activities do not interfere with their ability to fulfill their job requirements or their commitments to their managers, co-workers or customers.
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You are free to use this social media policy template as a starting point for the development of your own corporate social media policy, as long as you attribute include the following language with anchor text where ever you may publish it and as long as you share your policy, be it an exact copy of this policy or a derivative work, with who ever you share it with as well.
Attribution Text with Anchor Text Hyperlinks: This social media policy was developed using a social media policy template by Eric Schwartzman, a digital strategist specializing in online marketing, online communications and social media governance. Follow him @ericschwartzman
Social Media Policy Template by Eric Schwartzman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.