With the recent spike in lawsuits regarding employees and social media, it is critical that your company has a clear and effective social media policy for employees. At the bare minimum, your corporate policy needs to include the following three components to help guide employees and prevent a potential media frenzy over an employee social media posting:
For social media accounts where you opt to identify yourself as a [company name] employee and plan to use it in a professional capacity, you should always go by your real name to make it easy for professional connections to locate and connect with you online and offline. It is also advisable to include a professional headshot photo to help establish a potential connection with people and confirm that they have found the correct person.
If you choose to publish social media content from a publicly viewable account in your personal capacity, you are likely to be seen as a representative of [company name]. In particular, if you publish social media content regarding anything industry or company related, you must include a content disclaimer to avoid having your opinions seen as a company stance. It is not unusual for journalists to quote a tweet or post by an employee when writing an article. Hence, including a disclaimer is essential to help avoid inaccurate or unwanted coverage. In the event that you will be regularly posting about topics that are industry or company related, you will want to include the disclaimer in your profile description, so that you do not need to add a separate disclaimer to each post you make.
- Opinions are my own and do not represent [company name].
- Thoughts and opinions do not represent [company name]'s positions or opinions.
Be aware that disclaiming your opinions does not relinquish your responsibility to be socially professional.
If you make a posting mistake, admit to the mistake and take full responsibility for the error. Be upfront, and be quick with your correction. When possible, remove posts or updates immediately and post the correction. If you are posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post; just make it clear that you have done so and why.
Does your company have a clear social media policy?