15 social media guidelines for business

Many business owners I know want to participate in social media but they are not comfortable letting their staff members represent their business. They ask us to do their social media for them. But what they really need are social media guidelines for their staff to do it.

Although we always want to help our customers with their communications, social media is about businesses connecting with their customers, and we really recommend that businesses do it themselves.

To make it easy we have collated these 15 social media guidelines for people undertaking social media for their organisation. It is mostly common sense.

1. Be positive and supportive of your business, its products and services, and its managers and owners. You represent them.
2. Always be aware that your comments are public and could be reported or passed on.
3. Make sure what you say is consistent with all your organisational policies, such as Anti-Discrimination, Equal Employment Opportunity, Occupational Health and Safety, etc.
4. Don’t be anonymous in commenting (for instance use your real name and declare your interest) so that people know your posts are authentic.
5. Do not disclose any information that is commercially confidential.
6. Do not engage in any online activity that reflects poorly on your employer.
7. Do not post material that is obscene, defamatory, threatening, discriminatory or hateful.
8. Do not post negative comments about other people (staff, customers, and particularly competitors).
9. Do not post anything that may breach employment contracts.
10. Maintain high levels of security to minimise the risk of unauthorised access.
11. Make it clear that the views expressed are your own and not those of your employer.
12. Make sure comments are accurate and defensible.
13. Protect your personal reputation, your employer’s reputation, and the reputation of colleagues.
14. Respect the privacy and confidence of all stakeholders such as customers, contractors, and suppliers.
15. Respect the privacy of your fellow staff members, managers and the Board.

Make sure that you communicate the social media guidelines to all your staff.