This past Sunday the Cleveland Plain Dealer published their annual Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces report. It is an in-depth section, and it is encouraging to see so many growing companies and emerging industries here in Northeast Ohio.

While looking through the section, one article in particular caught my eye: Many Top Businesses Still Lack Social Media Policies. The article states that in a survey taken by 36 of the 100 Top Workplaces listed by the PD, very few said they have an official social media policy in place.

Respondents to the survey gave many reasons for not having a social media policy, including not having the time to devote, not fully understanding social media, and not knowing what to put in the policy. Many companies knew that they SHOULD have a policy in place, but don’t.

So what makes up a social media policy? For a company, a social media policy should cover two basic things:

  1. Employee use of social media sites at work.
  2. How an employee should represent its employer online.

This policy does not need to be a lengthy, notarized legal document, it just needs to address these two issues, and will vary slightly from company to company.

My 2 cents? First, you should not completely block employees from social media sites. Doing so can lead to a negative work environment. Trust your employees to not abuse the privilege. In fact, encourage employees to use social media for professional growth. LinkedIn and Twitter can be great tools for learning!

Your employees can be some of your strongest brand ambassadors online, and a social media policy should lay out exactly how they should be properly representing the company online. This can include mission statement language, posting pictures during work hours, and the official company branded social media profiles that employees should link to.

There may be other factors to consider specific to your company, but regardless of the industry, you should start to get a social media policy in place. Your employees are already using social media A LOT.

If you ever have any questions about social media best practices, or need help putting together a social media policy for your company, contact me at ray@DynamicsUS.com or send us a message on the Dynamics Online Facebook Page.