7 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy

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Social media is expanding with millions of people worldwide interacting before, during and after work. While social media is an extraordinary communications’ tool, employers can’t help but wonder what employees are discussing on social media during work hours—and even when they’re off the clock.

It’s important that employees understand the impact they have on your brand, as well as their personal brand, when socializing online. The ramifications can be costly, resulting in job loss, forced resignations and legal action.

It’s up to brands to ensure they’ve implemented a social media policy, so that nothing is left up to interpretation and everything is clearly outlined. Here,  S. Lynn Cooper outlines what you should consider when creating your brand’s social media policy:

What constitutes social media?

While Twitter and LinkedIn may easily be categorized as social media, what about YouTube? What about a personal blog? Your social media policy must have a concrete definition, including the various platforms the guidelines apply to.

Who’s responsible?

The best way to find a social media advocate within the company is to seek out the person or team of people who are most passionate about communicating with customers online. Seek those people out and provide them with the training needed to represent your brand.

Content Ownership

Does your brand have a YouTube page, Twitter account, or Facebook fan page? Your brand needs to confirm that the ownership of these social media accounts belongs to the brand, not the staffer whose current job entails monitoring the company’s online presence.

Privacy rights

Due to the casual nature of social media, it’s easy to give away proprietary information without realizing it. Since each social media platform has its own imperfections, it’s best to instruct employees never to share any confidential or proprietary information via their corporate or personal profiles.

Establish ground rules

You must allow your employees the right to engage on social media, but, of course, you want to protect your brand at the same time.  Since this can be a very touchy subject, consider contacting your legal counsel when formulating your policy.

Provide training

If you expect your employees to utilize social networking tools properly, you must provide training. Keep in mind what they post online is also a reflection of your brand.

Create a checks-and-balance system

A social media policy will not do your brand any justice if you don’t actually monitor the networks where dialogue is taking place.  There are plenty of tools to monitor social media (read “4 Tools to Help You Become a Savvy Social Listener”).

S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director of Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaign management. Follow her on Twitter at @sociallyahead.

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LinkedIn launches Targeted Status Updates for Brands

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Thanks to the LinkedIn Gods, you can now select a target audience for updates shared on your LinkedIn Company Page.  You can specify your target audience by company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography and whether they are employees of your company or not. Targeted Status Updates were launched to select LinkedIn customers and are now available to all Company Pages.

Click video below to learn more

Don’t forget to share this article with your network!

Is your reputation on the line because of social media?

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Benjamin Franklin once said ” It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it. ” Social media has become a part of our daily lives, in fact for some it has been their only form of communication/interaction.  I truly love connecting with individuals on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for personal and business reasons yet I cannot express enough to my cohorts that the social in social media is misleading.

Below are two examples of personal social media accounts that cost the individual their jobs!

Gilbert Gottfried – Fired from Aflac over offensive Twitter posts

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried was fired by employer Aflac, for whom he was a spokesperson, for making at least two jokes about the recent tragic events in Japan. Gottfried, whose voice served as that of the Aflac duck, isn’t known for either tact or good timing; he famously made a 9/11 joke just three weeks after 9/11 happened. And the comedian’s Twitter stream is replete with jokes that some might describe as tasteless or insensitive.

Read more here via Mashable http://mashable.com/2011/03/15/gilbert-gottfried-japan-twitter/

Dawnemarie Souza – Fired by American Medical Response for “online badmouthing”

Former medical technician Dawnemarie Souza was fired on December 1, 2010 for using vulgar language to criticize her boss on Facebook after he denied one of her requests. Several co-workers joined in on the thread, making similarly negative comments about the supervisor. Souza made these comments from her private account on her own time and on her own computer. Her case received national attention regarding employers social media policies. Her case was eventually settled with her former employer.

Read more here: http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/08/technology/facebook_firing_settlement/index.htm

These two individuals will now have a track record that will follow them for life and I would hate for something like this happening to you. So, I encourage you to THINK before you POST anything as  it estimated that more than 68 percent of employers do a Web search on job applicants as part of their hiring procedures. More than half of them admit to not bringing someone on board because of negative information they found online. Also do not post any negative information about your employer online unless you want to get fired – remember if you post it anywhere someone could see it. If your unhappy with your job then its time to move on not tweet about it!! As my mother would always say – “Don’t burn your bridges

So when was the last time you used GOOGLE to perform a search about you?  Well.. what are you waiting for…

If you need any assistance with social media please email me at sociallyahead@gmail.com

All the best,

Women’s Business Forum

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On Tuesday, I had the sincere pleasure of serving as a panelist  for Representative Donna Edwards’ (D-MD)  Minority Women-Owned Business Forum at the Rayburn Building.

This event was attended by over 300 women and there was a special presentation by Essence Magazine.

Presenters included:
• Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Ranking Member, House Committee on Small Business
• Hilda L. Solis, Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
• Dana M. Lewis, executive director, National Women’s Business Council
• Ana Recio Harvey, Asst. Administrator, Office of Women’s Business Ownership, U.S. Small Business Administration
• S. Lynn Cooper, National Association of Black Female Entrepreneurs
• L. Content McLaughlin, President of the Maryland Chapter, National Association of Women Business Owners

I was honored to be among such great business leaders and truly loved connecting with the attendees!