I was going to say every business, but in reality this applies to any business and even governmental agency.  That is why I said every manager needs a set of Social Media Guidelines and Policy.Social Media Policies and Guidelines for your business.

A local Police Officer recently posted something on his Facebook profile about how he felt about Black Lives Matter. 

This post is not to support or criticize his actions or even if he had the Free Speech Right to do so.  The story is all over the news as you can see here:

Omaha World Herald – OPD places officer on administrative leave over ‘potentially inappropriate’ Facebook post

WOWT – OPD officer placed on leave after controversial Facebook post

KETV – OPD officer placed on administrative leave after ‘potentially inappropriate content’ found on Facebook pages

Some mention reporters asking about Social Media Policies and whether the city or Police Department had any in place for all employees to know about.

Social Media Policies: From None to Restrict Everything

Many companies, especially smaller ones, will not even have a standard Social Media Policy.  That quite frankly is not realistic in today’s connected world.  Your employees live on social media in the off hours and sometimes even at work. It is best to have some sort of social media policy in force as an employee may mention your business name in a post and in so doing is acting as a representative of your business. Any Manager needs to have something in place the employee is aware of so if action is required, there is no question on the part of the employee.

I am in the “camp” of people that feel some sort of minimal social media policy needs to be put into effect. This policy should serve as a set of guidelines. These guidelines are for the employee to be real and honest and realize what they are saying is representing the company.  They also need to state somewhere in the post or on their profile anything they say is not as an official policy of the company.  You want them to be “real” and honest. As a manager you should not be afraid if they might speak critically of the firm in a public forum.  Good companies treat their employees properly and foster an environment where employee are great ambassadors of your brand.

Now I know some businesses that say NO SOCIAL MEDIA PERIOD.  Well that is foolish to a degree. You cannot control what your employees do away from work.  A policy like this might just help foster an environment where they are antagonists and not advocates.

Social Media Policy Broken

So what are you to do if a rouge employee goes ballistic on social media and paints your business in a bad light?  Again the social media policy needs to have guidelines and action steps if the policy is broken. This not only protects you, but the business brand as well.

I am not an attorney and this is not true legal advice.  Any social media policy your do put into place needs to be simple, easy to understand and one with some legalese, but not too much. If it begins to sound like a legal binding contract, maybe it is time to consult another attorney.

I am here to help if you need to draft social media guidelines and policy for your business. It is never too late to get on put into place.  I will also recommend that anything I provide is reviewed by an attorney for your business.