Running head: Social Media Policy Proposal 1

Social Media Policy Proposal

Dan O'Brien

AET 562

May 8, 2017

Dr. Sean Spear
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY PROPOSAL 2

Social Media Policy Proposal

The benefits of utilizing social media for business are numerous and should be a

consideration to help address internal and external needs. Social media can be implemented for

little or no costs leading many businesses to jump into to using this technology. Employees can

keep in touch about company projects from multiple business locations during and after work

hours. Customers and clients can access company social media sites to get answers to questions

about products and services that are offered. Social media can be used as a marketing tool to

help inform customers about new and existing products along with any special events or

promotional activities.

Social media also has the potential to create miss intended consequences which may

follow inappropriate postings by employees, customers, clients, competitors and just those out to

spread ill will. How a company responds to a negative or inappropriate comment on social

media may determine how the message will be received by others. The response can calm

concerns, or it can be accelerated into a full blown crisis if not handled correctly.

The best defense to prevent unintended responses and reactions from the usage of social

media is to establish a policy that all in an organization follow. The following recommendations

are examples of social media policy that has assisted others in establishing successful social

media programs.

Social Media Policy

A social media policy should contain some basic language to help encourage respectful

communications between contributors. A social media policy statement does not need to look

like a legal document but does need to outline how a company and its employees represent itself

in a virtual social world (Beesley, 2013). Differences of opinion are common with people and
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY PROPOSAL 3

people’s opinions need to be respected even if they differ with company culture or individual

beliefs. It is important to establish a policy that does not make contributors from an organization

afraid to post a comment. A social media policy needs to be in place anytime others can access

an organizations online presence (Campbell, 2013).

According to Campbell (2013), the following considerations should be addressed prior

to establishing a social media presence for an organization. The first step is to determine the

strategic plan for the organization. The strategic plan should identify the reason and expected

outcomes from a social media program. With the plan the target audience should be identified

along with the expected outcomes and goals of the social media program. The company culture

should be reflected in any social media policy. Considerations for past experiences, with

successes and failures could help prevent foreseeable problems and encourage the adaptation of

best practices. These considerations should be included in a social media policy. A diverse team

consisting of members belonging to the organization should be assembled utilized to determine

the policy. Team members should be consulted to gain insight on their feelings and opinions on

social media matters and policies that effect the organization.

Social media policy should be in line with the mission statement of an organization. The

goals of an organization and the message of what the organization is all about should be included

in the social media policy to maintain consistency. An organization also might want to consider

the font type and grammatical level of responses by members from within the organization.

While informal communication is the nature of social media an organization may request its

members keep a uniform look to contributions and responses. This practice will maintain a

uniform, consistent look and feel to company communications. Roles and responsibilities of the

organizations members need to be established so those participating in social media know who is
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the authority figure representing the organizations members. Social media requires monitoring

and an official social media company representative may be necessary to ensure a successful

social media campaign. Organization members are encouraged to maintain a friendly tone of

communication while responding on behalf of the company (Campbell, 2013). In many cases a

friendly exchange in response to a complaint or negative response is enough to prevent a minor

incident from becoming a major social media crisis. Whenever an opinion is provided from an

employee making a response on social media it is recommended to state that it is in the opinion

of the contributing employee so the opinion is not considered as the opinion of the company

(Best Buy, 2009).

Employees and members of an organization who use social media should consider the

tone and message that their personal social media activities and contributions are

communicating. Even though activities may be performed after hours and outside of their

employment responsibilities their social media actions may affect their careers. There have been

some recent actions of people who have posted violent exchanges with others involving

themselves on social media. Employers may determine the actions of the individual to be

offensive and out of line with company policies and expectations of behavior of employees.

Employees may find themselves relieved of their jobs when employers see their actions

broadcast on social media. Individual activities on social media are visible to all who are

members of the applications. Belonging to social media groups who are intolerant of others

activities or are considered socially unacceptable can be grounds alone for termination of

employment if the employee is deemed a risk to the organization. Without consideration of the

consequences of ones activities on social media a reputation may be established that follows one

to their in person real life. It is common practice today for employers to research the social media
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activities of individuals who are applying and interviewing for employment positions within their

organizations.

Members of an organization also need to be careful not to share information that may be

deemed private and confidential to the company. Information discussed by members also must

not be the work of someone else. Posting information generated by others and acquired with a

web site or social media site can be considered copyright infringement and should always be

avoided. Social media policy needs to make sure all understand that no disclosures are to be

made to company strategy, future offerings or sales promotions. Any information that may have

legal consequences also needs to be not discussed by members, any such conversations from

organization officials should come directly from the appropriate legal representatives (Best Buy,

2009).

Contributors to social media can come from inside and outside of our organization. Social

media can be used for internal training programs that are not accessible to the general public.

During learning programs social media can be utilized to enhance learning activities by allowing

discussions to follow after training session hours and after completion of programs. Relevant

shared knowledge of learners from within and outside the organization can be utilized for

training purposes as long as social media policies are not violated. The appropriate use of social

media will help accelerate the acquisition of knowledge by allowing training program members

to immerse themselves in the content of the program. Social media will also allow training

program members to share past experiences that are relevant to the topic of training. Shared

knowledge from experience will allow all users to benefit from others past successes and

failures. With responsible social media usage a mutual respect will be generated by those who

contribute to such a discussion.
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Conclusion

Social media introduces opportunities for businesses by opening new avenues of

communication and engagement with consumers, it also brings in an element of risk (Beesley,

2013). Without an established social media policy organizations place themselves in uncertain

waters not knowing what will actually happen. A seemingly harmless post by a member of the

organization may set off a chain of events that places negative attention towards the individual

and the organization. A comment on social media by a person who seems to have ill will to all

they come in contact with could actually be given credibility and harm the reputation of an

organization if the comment is not dealt with appropriately and quickly. Responses and

contributions need to carefully evaluated to make sure the correct message and tone of the

message is being conveyed. While an exchange or communication may seem private in reality a

seemingly private exchange on social medial can be viewed by many thousands of people.

Careful consideration must be made prior to all communications. Any possible misinterpretation

of a message must be considered prior to using social media. A person who is responsible for

monitoring social media activities needs to be ready at a moment’s notice to address issues that

may arise with the users and contributors of social media. Social media is described as a virtual

minefield for intellectual property abuse. Social media policy needs to include all issues that can

adversely affect an organization (Beesley, 2013).
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References

Beesley, C. (2013).How to craft social media policy for your small business. U.S. Small business

administration. Retrieved from https://www.sba.gov/blogs/how-craft-social-media-

policy-your-small-business

Best Buy, (2009). Best Buy Social Media Policy. Retrieved from

http://forums.bestbuy.com/t5/Welcome-News/Best-Buy-Social-Media-Policy/td-p/20492

Campbell, C. (2013). The complete guide to developing a social media policy for your business.

Social Media Today. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/complete-

guide-developing-social-media-policy-your-business

Walmart, (2017). Social media guidelines. Walmart. Retrieved from

http://corporate.walmart.com/policies