Creating a Solid Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy

UWSP’s social media policy

The social media policy at UWSP covers quite a bit. I also compared it to IBM’s policy since, “IBM’s social media policy is considered by many professionals to be among the clearest and most helpful social media policies in existence today” (Blanchard; Social Media ROI). IBM’s policy is very clear and concise and leaves little room for question


Important areas that a social media policy should cover include:

  • Guidelines, policies, and purpose, including a definition of responsible social media usage for employees of the organization, both internally and externally; clear expectations of employee behavior, both personal and professional, on the social web; and, identifying resources for best practices for professional and personal social media usage. (UWSP’s policy covers this.)
  • Treat employees with respect and acknowledge them as responsible human beings. The policy should be written on a foundation of trust and respect. (UWSP policy does this).
  • Include a detailed list of rules that touches on personal use of social media during work hours; personal use of social media using company-owned equipment; company bandwidth usage guidelines for personal use; disclosure of company policies and rights dealing with data privacy; official/sanctioned use of social media to conduct company business during work hours; and, protocols regarding the download of social media-related software. The IT department needs to be involved in this. (UWSP’s policy is a little vague in this area).
  • External social media guidelines outlining the organizations views on what each employee’s responsibilities may be in regard to the role they play as a representative of the business whenever they are not at work, not using a company device or using the company’s network to access the Internet outside of work.
  • Employment disclosure guidelines so that if an employee is going to engage in discussions that touch on the industry that their employer is involved with, they must disclose their relationship with their employer either in their profile or every time they engage in such a discussion. (UWSP’s policy covers this.)
  • Anti-defamation guidelines including libel, slander, and defamation.
  • Social media confidentiality and nondisclosure goidelines. (UWSP’s policy covers this.)
  • Official vs. personal communications guidelines, i.g., let employees know exactly what is expected of them when the represent the organization on social networks, including details on customer service, community management, etc., and the guidelines must be realistic.
  • An agreement by employees to be polite and kind to other people (and each other) online. Information on cyber-bullying can be included in this area.
  • Training resources.
  • Social media guidelines for agency partners, contractors, and external representatives. (Not applicable to UWSP.)

I think UWSP does a good job covering most of the above bulleted points. They borrowed much of their content from DePaul University and give credit to them as well.