Human Resources

Social Media Policies: 14 Key Guidelines

Make social media policies a subset of your overall business strategy.

September 07, 2010
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Are written social media policies necessary? Yes, according to “Social Media Guidelines and Policies,” a white paper from the CUNA HR/TD Council and the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council.

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineWhether your credit union sponsors a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, or any other social media site, written policies define appropriate employee behavior in this brave new, evolving world.

Here are key elements to include in the guidelines:

1. Introduction and purpose of social media

The policy needs to start with an introduction that explains the purpose of the policy or guideline, notes the whitepaper. The introduction should state explicitly who the policy is written for. The policy should also give an explanation of the purpose of social media—often noted as a “platform for mass collaboration.”

2. Core values

After the introduction, some credit unions might want to emphasize that employees should carry over the organizational values and mission to the online venue. It’s important to be the same person online and face-to-face. Laws, regulations, and appropriate behaviors still apply. Being online provides no special rights or privileges; we are still accountable for our actions.

3. Accountability

Social media has democratized the workplace by giving everyone a chance to have a voice in the marketplace of ideas and commerce. Ideas and voices that are unique and interesting rise to the top; others may linger in the basement. We are all responsible for what we write. Unlike a conversation, written words on the Internet tend to stay posted for a long time and are difficult to delete, so writers must be responsible, accountable, and not anonymous.

4. Inappropriate use of social media

What is inappropriate use of social media and what is acceptable behavior? Which sites are OK to visit and which ones are taboo? Include a section in your guidelines that explains inappropriate use in a straightforward manner.

5. Financial disclosure

Any time a financial product is mentioned in a blog, a tweet, or another form, financial disclosure laws apply online. State that if any employee mentions a product online, he or she must comply with advertising disclosure regulations. Mentioning products is OK, as long as the page links back to the credit union’s website page that lists the proper disclosures.

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