All strategies meant to address the risks involved with usage of social media should primarily focus on behavior of the user. This is through training support, awareness programs and policy development. The policies should serve to educate the staff and should flow from social media plan. There will be involvement of key staff in policy and development process. These staff should be especially those who are enlightened on what works well for the organization and those using social media tools (Shirley & Libby, 54)
Too restrictive policies handcuff staff and prevent them from ever making progress and developments on skills and processes. Good social media policies are premeditated to encourage engagement. It should be within a framework that provides clarity of purpose and direction. When an organization has good policies, the staff members are free to put more efforts and ideas. Some social media policies are a motivation to staff but their characteristics are the best.
Characteristics of good policies
All policies including social media policies have a number of similar characteristics. All the good policies are, practical, built on trust, without absolutes, designed to educate, friendly, in plain language and consistent. They derive on trust in that; all good policies should start from a trust’s position. One should believe that his or her people want to do the right thing. The intention of a policy is to guide people on their social media activities and behavior. A good policy focuses on what and how to do social media and it is preferable to a long list of what people should not do.
Having a reflection of values and culture from a policy makes it practical. A policies practicality means that the employees only review it when faced with unusual or new state of affairs but not always when they plan to interact online. A flexible organization empowers and trusts the employees more than the policy, hence grant the employees with greater discretion. Policies should not dictate on how the employees should work but only guide them through and remind them on what to do to avoid repeated mistakes (Brian & Wassom, 88).
Good policies have the motive to educate and since the social media is constantly evolving, therefore policies should be as much education as making rules. A social media organization should use its policies to help the employees become successful in their interactions online. They should be friendly, welcoming and heartwarming. Employees should feel safe and ready to engage since they know what they should do.
Things a policy should cover
A policy should cover personal use in the workplace. This mentions its authenticity, inappropriate sites, contents and conversations. It also entails the discussions of topics related to the workplace and the non-disclosure of topics related to business, in this case the social media organization. Employees should well understand this part since this is where loyalty starts. It should however not be too restricted.
It should also cover personal use outside the workplace. This is where there are standard disclaimers and warnings to the public about the employees.
It contains restricted areas and lines of duty. It stipulates the dangers involved with posting too much information on an individual. It also has requirements for keeping professional content from personal. There is a mention of non-disclosure of content related to the business.
There is also the business use, which does not allow installations such as games and soft wares that could be a danger to the organization. It warns the workers not to share links and organization’s secrets. After the employees have gone through it, they understand that it is wrong to impersonate and failing to give credit while sharing someone’s content. Policies are however flexible and those who feel uncomfortable should always raise remedies to the relevant authorities.
Social Networking Privacy: How to be Safe, Secure and Social, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, June 2011,
Brian Wassom, 5 Predictions for Social Media Law in 2012, Mashable, 2012.
Sharlyn Lauby, Ethics and Social Media: Where Should You Draw The Line?, Mashable, 2012, David, Vinjamuri. Ethics and the Five Deadly Sins of Social Media, Forbes.com, 2011.