9 Top Areas To Address In Your Social Media Policy

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I could hardly believe my eyes! I’d read about it, discussed it, reviewed it, even posted about it, but I had never actually seen it… An apparent staff member posting a negative post about their position in their dental office…while at their office!!

Social media is here and whether you are utilizing social media in your practice/business or not, your employees are! It would be great if you could depend on posts being all positive and upbeat, but we know that’s not reality.

You know Social Media and its implications to your business or practice. You know the importance of having some type of Social Media Policy in place for your practice/business, but…. what areas need to be addressed?

The top 9 areas to address in your Social Media Policy:

  1. Policy Statement: This is a generalized statement about participating in social media. Tie it in with your Office Manual and Personal Conduct. Also acknowledge that what’s done on their time is their business. However, certain activities at work or outside work that could affect job
    performance, theirs or another employee’s, or the practice’s interests are a proper focus for policy.
  2. Definitions: Reference the Social Media Channels and Social Media Networks you are referring to in your policy. For example, blogs, micro-blogs, social networks, social bookmarking, sharing platforms, etc. Also reference how these might be addressed. For example, internet, mobile, text, email, etc. Also reference Social Media Accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Blogs, and any other Social Media Channels.
  3. Objectives: Establish and include guidelines that employees adhere to and why you are initiating the Social Media Policy.
  4. Guiding Principles: Address how you expect employees to use social media at work and outside work. Who can “speak” on behalf of the practice/business. What can and cannot be discussed while at work or on their own time. Assure online activities don’t interfere with job requirements or commitment to patients/clients.
  5. Respectfulness: Keep interaction online (at work or on their time), always careful of what’s posted. For example, don’t say or post anything you wouldn’t want seen on the front page of the local newspaper or want your Grandmother to read!
  6. Disclosure and Transparency: Social media is all about trust and building relationships. Be aware of what you are posting, be honest, and disclose your true identity. Transparency and Authenticity (open and genuine) are the two key elements in Social Media.
  7. Privacy: Address you, the Employers, right to privacy and Employees right to privacy. As such employers and employees have the right to keep personal opinions, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions private and employees are prohibited from violating another employee or their employer’s right to privacy.
  8. Confidentiality: Effectively managing and protecting confidential information is critical. Failure to manage and protect confidential information correctly and what that could result in. ALSO Employees can disagree but external blogs or other online social media channels are not to be used to air employee disagreements. Note: Again, be careful of what’s posted. It’s going to be on the social networks for a long time. If in doubt, don’t post it!!
  9. Penalties: Failure to comply with these Social Media Policies may result in: List what could happen if an employee does not comply. They could include: Warnings, No longer have access to certain information, Disciplinary action, up to and including termination, even Civil or criminal penalties as provided by law (depending on the situation).

Once printed, make copies for each employee. Then have a staff meeting introducing and going over the social media policies of the office. Then have each employee sign that they understand and have received a copy.

This is not an all inclusive list nor do all of these have to be addressed. Your practice or business will determine how involved you need to be with your social media policy.

However, whether your practice is actually using social media should not be the determining factor for whether or not you need a social media policy. The fact that your employees ARE using social media makes having your social media policies in place…critical!

If you have your social media policies in place, what areas did you address not listed here?

***NOTE: This is not meant to be legal advice and I am not an attorney.

 

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Livvie Matthews, Dental Social Media Consultant and Coach, provides “how to’s” on Internet marketing and social media networking for dental professionals who want to keep it simple and easy to understand. Free 8 day Social Media eCourse delivered immediately to your inbox http://bit.ly/dQEZof Visit http://www.SimpleSocialMedia.TV Contact Livvie: Livvie@simplesocialmedia.tv

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Livvie Matthews

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Last modified: February 9, 2012

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