Eight Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy - Slide 4

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Social networking policies are often dictated in part by the industry in which the company operates and how regulated that industry is. For example, employees at hospitals or clinics have access to very personal information with regard to patients, and that information must be safeguarded in order to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and to protect patients' privacy rights. Thus, a social networking policy that prevents employees from posting specifics about patients and their conditions is in order.

A good social media policy is like good art. It's often hard to explain, but you know it when you see it, which makes it pretty frustrating for companies trying to create policies for their employees. Many of the experts we've interviewed have told us the purpose of social media policies is to get folks to use good common sense. So, um, don't put proprietary information in your Facebook status updates. Don't get too snarky with your tweets.

The key to a good social-media policy is finding the right balance for your company. That'll likely depend a lot on your specific corporate culture and your industry. It's safe to say a lot of companies won't be comfortable with Zappos' seven-word policy: Be real and use your best judgment. But many will find social-media guidelines like those issued by Dow Jones to be too restrictive.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about a social-media policy is to communicate it clearly and ask employees to sign off on it. And of course, all social-media policies should be consistently enforced.

In this slideshow, you’ll find a list of points that you should at least consider while crafting your company’s social media policy – even if you decide some of them do not need to be directly addressed in the final document.

For more guidance and to save lots of time, check out these helpful social media policy tools available as free downloads from the IT Business Edge Knowledge Network.

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