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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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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