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Companies should develop and formalize official company policies and procedures for the use of social media and social networking. For purposes of this post, I refer to social media as any usage of Web 2.0 technologies and sites such as blogging, micro blogging (twitter, plurk), photo sharing (Flickr, twit pic), video sharing (YouTube, Vimeo), life casting (blogtv, qik), networking (LinkedIn, Plaxo), and so forth. If you don’t understand what social networking is, refer to the short video in the media box.

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Sample Social Networking Policies

Below are some suggested policies that you can incorporate into an official company policy:

The following is the company’s social media and social networking policy. The absence of, or lack of explicit reference to a specific site does not limit the extent of the application of this policy. Where no policy or guideline exists, employees should use their professional judgment and take the most prudent action possible. Consult with your manager or supervisor if you are uncertain.

  1. Personal blogs should have clear disclaimers that the views expressed by the author in the blog is the author’s alone and do not represent the views of the company. Be clear and write in first person. Make your writing clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the company.
  2. Information published on your blog(s) should comply with the company’s confidentiality and disclosure of proprietary data policies. This also applies to comments posted on other blogs, forums, and social networking sites.
  3. be respectful to the company, other employees, customers, partners, and competitors.
  4. Social media activities should not interfere with work commitments. Refer to IT resource usage policies.
  5. Your online presence reflects the company. Be aware that your actions captured via images, posts, or comments can reflect that of our company.
  6. Do not reference or site company clients, partners, or customers without their express consent. In all cases, do not publish any information regarding a client during the engagement.
  7. Respect copyright laws, and reference or cite sources appropriately. Plagiarism applies online as well.
  8. Company logos and trademarks may not be used without written consent.

Remember that this is only a sample and framework for social media policies. In developing policies and procedures for your company, you should tailor the language to reflect the culture and the company environment. Depending on the usage of social media, policies should be more or less explicit, particularly in defining terms.

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