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As social media becomes more prevalent in the workplace, so does the demand for a clear and fair social media policy. When putting together such a policy, there's a fine line to tread between setting honest boundaries and restricting freedom of expression.
In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to creating a fair social media policy for your business and its employees.
What's in this guide?
- What is a Social Media Policy?
- What are the benefits of a Social Media Policy?
- When should I get a Social Media Policy?
- What does a Social Media Policy include and not include?
- How effective is a Social Media Policy?
- Do I need a lawyer for a Social Media Policy?
- Get access to customisable Social Media Policy templates online
- What else should I think about?
- Where to get free legal documents and templates like a Social Media Policy
What is a Social Media Policy?
Businesses use social media policies to set out their rules when it comes to using social media in or out of the workplace. A social media policy should address all the expectations, rights and responsibilities of staff when they use social media for either business or personal use. This may include the appropriate use of language and how to take heed of any confidentiality concerns while on a social media platform.
A social media policy is a live document and businesses should update the policy regularly to reflect the latest online advancements. So, it's no surprise that this type of policy is often used as part of regular training events or workshops.
What are the benefits of a Social Media Policy?
- Protect your company from possible legal action and unfair dismissal claims.
- A good policy can educate employees on legal risks and security issues that arise by using social media.
- Safeguard your image and maintain your brand across different social media channels.
- Shield your staff from online bullying and harassment.
- Avoiding a major PR crisis.
Additionally, having a quality social media policy in place can allow you to pivot quickly if an issue does arise at your organisation.
When should I get a Social Media Policy?
You should try to establish a social media policy as soon as you employ your first additional member of staff. Not having a policy in place from the very offset can cause problems further down the line.
What does a Social Media Policy include and not include?
What is included in a policy?
You can choose exactly what to include in your social media policy. The following headings are a good place to start:
- What is social media? Provide a definition of what your company considers to be social media.
- Policy and scope. Describe the general purpose of the document and who it applies to.
- Personal social media use. Specify what is and is not acceptable while using social media in a personal capacity.
- Social media at work. Outline the terms for using social media at work.
- Professional social media use. Explain the conditions of using social media for business purposes and include a list of people who are allowed to represent the company online.
- Breaching the social media policy. Discuss what happens if employees breach the policy and how your business will resolve any conflicts.
What is not included in a policy?
A social media policy is a sensitive document and you should avoid using threatening or harsh language throughout. It's also good to steer clear of unreasonable stipulations in the policy.
How effective is a Social Media Policy?
Social media policies can be a contentious issue, as some people consider them to be restrictive of people's freedoms. You can improve the success of your social media policy by carefully considering the language you use throughout the document.
Using the right terminology and language will ensure that your staff see the policy as a means of support, not as a threat to their freedom of expression.
Do I need a lawyer for a Social Media Policy?
No, a lawyer isn't wholly necessary to write a social media policy. However, it can be useful to ask a legal professional to look over your finished document. They will make sure that the policy is within the realms of the law, while still protecting your business. While you look for professional help, a social media policy template can help you to get started straight away.
Get access to customisable Social Media Policy templates online
Does your company belong in this list?
What else should I think about?
Writing a social media policy needs to be carefully considered to conform not only with state legislation but also with worker's rights. A few ways to make sure your policy stays within the boundaries are:
- Research all of the relevant legislation and regulations in your state.
- Seek the help of stakeholders and senior staff when drafting up your policy.
- Use a social media policy template to structure your policy.
- Hire a legal professional to look over the final draft.
Where to get free legal documents and templates like a Social Media Policy
Finding a social media policy template in Australia isn't so hard. A quick probe on a search engine will reward you with plenty of free online resources to choose from. Here are a few places to start your search.
- Lawpath. Sign up to Lawpath's monthly subscription plan and enjoy unlimited access to their legal documents.
- Wonder Legal. You can sift through hundreds of online legal templates on Wonder Legal. To customise and download a social media policy template, you'll need to pay a one-time fee of $59.99.
- Legal Vision. Part of a new wave of online legal services that offer small businesses unlimited help for a monthly subscription fee. You can also access templates for a one-off payment.
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