1. Establish the Ground Rules
Social media policies have become so common that organizations are expected to have one. There may be no legal requirement to do so yet, but the absence of one certainly makes it difficult to defend the organization in the many types of legal action that arise when humans act like humans. Think about the following when developing or updating the policies:
2. Plan for Consistent Enforcement
One of the biggest mistakes is in the execution of the carefully drafted policy. Failing to implement a social media policy properly can cause more problems than having no policy at all. A plan for implementation and execution should include:
3. Apply Extra Caution with Collective Bargaining
Collective bargaining agreements create an entirely different complexity to social media policies and enforcement. There is a greater level of protection for speech made by employees in any platform covered by these agreements. This level of protection can start during the organizing process–well before it is formalized. Companies need to proceed with extreme caution when enforcing policies where employees may be trying to organize into unions. The wrong steps here can be expensive and create complicated problems. Bottom line, tread lightly and consult with counsel.
4. Advocacy Programs as the Next Frontier
Social media marketing can be expensive. Investing a substantial amount of money to build a following often proves challenging as it does not transfer to the constantly emerging hot platforms (i.e. Facebook to Snapchat). As a result, there are a number of companies that are moving to social media advocacy programs. This is not for every organization and implementation can involve a number of legal pitfalls. However, here are some organizations that have been successful in converting employees into “free” (but powerful) brand ambassadors: