We all want to keep our organizations safe online. How? Below are six common mistakes made in regards to social media policies.
1) Mistake #1: A policy of DON’T. When writing social media policies, it is best to write about what staff can do, rather than focus what they can’t do. When we focus on what we can do, we are focusing on opportunity and action rather than avoidance and reaction. We want staff to be thinking about possibilities, not paralyzed in fear.
2) Mistake #2: Not paying attention to the fine print. It seems simple but many organizations don’t read the guidelines for social media sites. As a result, they make decisions which later haunt them. If you’ve ever created a Facebook Profile page for an organization, you might know what I’m talking about. It’s no fun to work on your site only to have it revoked because you didn’t read the sites’ directions. Policies are a good place to remind staff to follow all site-specific regulations.
3) Mistake #3: Going too narrow. The policies should focus on the
big picture. They should include concerns such as privacy, safety, and
values. They don’t need to mention the nitty-gritty ‘how-to’ instructions on individual sites because sites change frequently. Should staff have ‘how-to’ instructions on individual sites? Sure! Those guidelines are very helpful but don’t need to be a part of your policies.
4) Mistake #4: Not involving HR. The HR director must be involved in this process. There are so many potential challenges which your organization might confront up to and including potential termination of employees. This is extreme but does happen. Writing polices which avoid these challenges requires that HR be at the table. If you still aren’t convinced, check out some of the articles on my Social Media Polices Page.
5) Mistake #5: Not having a social media savvy lawyer review the policies. We aren’t experts in the law and new cases are being decided every day. Don’t give your policies to a tax lawyer to review. Do you research and find a lawyer who understands the issues. It’s worth the money.
6) Mistake #6: Not having policies. It’s tempting to bury our heads in the sand but that won’t help us here. For one thing, the staff engaged in online outreach need direction. I’ve talked with many staff and the one thing I hear over and over is this, “I need guidance. I think I’m doing the right thing but I’m not sure.” When it comes to social media, the field is literally being created before our eyes. Nobody expects senior leadership to be experts; however, it is important that staff have clear guidance and know what pitfalls to avoid. Together, you make a great team.
What’s your biggest question about social media policies? Let me know below and I’ll address it in an upcoming blog post.