#CmgrChat 9/29 – Social Media Policies

Had a pretty great discussion surrounding Social Media Policies in Wednesday’s chat.  We saw 862 tweets from 126 contributors in an hour, which knocked out last week’s record topping crowd.   It is really nice to see this community growing, so thank you to all that participate.

One item of note before we get into the digest.  On the right hand side of this page you’ll see a link to join the Community Managers (Social Media Managers) group on linked in (or directly linked here.  Please feel free to join and contribute!


A Couple of Helpful Posts:

Since our topic was Social Media Policies, if you’re looking to make one this site provides 154 policy examples that may be of use for you.

A Media Policy shared by JennaL15

Twitter and (the illusion of) Free Speech by KellyLux:


Q1) Do you have a social media policy in place and who enforces it?

Draddog: My last co did not have one,I helped craft it with legal team. Needed badly because lots of people wanted to talk to community

AskTim: Yes. Strong enforcement hasn’t been necessary yet, but I imagine senior mgmt would do it. We’re a small organization.

KellyLux: As of right now, @syracuseu does not have a social media policy. We are looking at creating one.

jdross: We have guidelines for use of SM by administrative depts., set/enforced by communications office

writeonglass: We have some social media guidelines in place, but I’m still working on creating an official policy

JPedde: I was asked to create a SM Policy this summer. Hasn’t been implemented yet, but its made.

AlyssaHenry: SM policies necessary but hard to enforce. Link to study stating almost half of employees wouldn’t follow:

jdross: Sharing our guidelines on creating a SM presence and communicating on SM

DanielaBolzmann: As a tech start up we do not have a policy, having a small team allows us to work together closely on social media objectives


Q2) Who creates the policies at your company?  Who should create them?

shawnabraham: I’ll probably be responsible for first draft, but the deans and program directors will likely have a lot to say about it all.

shankell: Right now we have a new media team creating the policy. Should be a combo of those in the “know” and those with “power”

Draddog: Community/Social Manager + Legal + HR at least. Executive buy-in helps as well.

DavidSpinks: Policy should be worked on collaboratively by execs, and community managers

AskTim: We had a committee of employees develop the policy. Committee included IT director, social media manager, and a few others.

firebelly: What if yr co. HR doesnt get it – Id recommending turning to a hip HR consulting firm

joshshear: Me (CM) with input/approval from management/ownership

maltaee: The policy should be created by the new media manager but with a touch from all departments managers.


Q3) What are the key elements of a social media policy must have?

maltaee: Invest time in educating employees about social media benefits.

DavidSpinks: The social media policy needs to provide for creative freedom.

DavidSpinks: It should be clear whether or not employees can use their personal accounts to rep company.

jasonarican: If there are any regulatory or company specific topics that absolutely cannot be talked about

cochinealred: Where you interact and how. Personal and branded expectations, “disaster” plan, and day to day examples

tgrevatt: Explaining reason for a policy item or consequences help clarity/understanding plus as others have said – use lots of examples

JennaLanger: Key elements of #sm policy: mission & values, reason for using #sm, what not to do, how to handle crises

MoishesMoving: The line between freedom of expression for employees, and accountability as reps of the co. is paramount in a co. SM policy

PaughGinney: Explain broadcasting vs. engagement and make sure employees know why one is more effective than the other

muruganpandian: How to represent the organization in an acceptable manner

JPedde: SM Policy shd discuss rules of engagement, operate under confidentiality clauses, normal disclosure agreements


Q4) Do you find it hard to stay within the guidelines of the SM Policy?

buona_vita: We have one, but SM is also my job. Basically just do not slander the company or do too much personal surfing

DavidSpinks: Depends on the guidelines. If they’re really limiting my personality, then yes, I’ll probably get fired.

Draddog: When handled as a guide with employees, never ran into a problem. Only became an issue when it became a “lawenforcement” issue.

AskTim: Re: too much surfing, the question should be whether you’re getting your work done.


Q5) What happens if someone breaks the policy?

DavidSpinks: Explain what happened on your blog and apologize.

d_seidman: Education and consultation are key

AskTim: Probably disciplinary action combined with mgmt efforts to repair the damage.

Draddog: Depends on severity but educate employe – Work with the community to move past the issue, addressing it open and honestly.

jdross: React sooner rather than later. If you stick your head in the sand and ignore it, it will only get worse

maltaee: Talk and educate them, then educate again, if they keep breaking the policy >>> FIRE.


Bonus Questions For Further Discussion:

JMattHicks: Are your policies the same over all mediums of social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.)?

UncleDuke: Is the true purpose of a company SM policy preventative before the fact or punitive after the fact?

Mitch_M: Just asking, but are we making sure to decide whether SM policies should restrict employees on their own time & their own space?

Austin_Curtis: Should you have a policy of consequences that is clear cut?


Thanks to all who participated!  Make sure to come back to #cmgrchat every Wednesday from 2-3pm EST for more chats – Next week’s Chat will be discussing “Keeping Up with Technology”

If you have any ideas or suggestions for future topics, leave comments or get in touch with myself or Kelly!

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.