Social Media Policy to the Rescue!

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The  emergence of social media allows anyone with a computer to be a messenger for a company, and essentially, that’s not a bad thing. Not too many supervisors have the time or the desire to spend all day on social media, explaining the benefits of their organization, as if doing so would help their brand. When employers allow their employees to speak on social media sites about the brand, it can reduce workload and generate a bit of buzz in the process.

But, employees can also dissolve a brand in minutes. Companies who use LinkedIn, for example, have the name of a brand ingrained in their profiles, employees might choose to respond to an arguable topic on the site with an inappropriate comment or comments. Other readers might assume that this comment sums up a company’s opinion on the arguable topic. Employees might also stand up for their company on sites like Twitter and Facebook, criticizing customers who may have experienced dissatisfaction with a brand.  In order to prevent instances that could potentially allow a company to crumble, social media policies are created to keep employees in line when dealing with the web and social media.  Here is the social media policy for PAWS Employee Wellness and any other social media sites affiliated with UW – Stevens Point.

 UW-Stevens Point Social Media Guidelines

General Recommendations

The keys to success in social media are being honest about who you are, being thoughtful before you post, and respecting the purpose of the community where you are posting.

 Be honest about your identity. If you are authorized by your supervisor to represent UW-Stevens Point in social media, say so. If you choose to post about UW-Stevens Point on your personal time, please identify yourself as a UW-Stevens Point faculty, staff member or student. Never hide your identity for the purpose of promoting UW-Stevens Point through social media. 

Be accurate. Make sure that you know all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction later. Cite and link sources whenever possible; after all, that is how communities are built.  If you make an error, correct it quickly and let people know that you made a correction. This will earn you respect in the online community.

Be respectful. You are more likely to achieve your goals or persuade others if you are constructive and respectful while speaking of a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person. 

Be a valued member. If you join a social network like a Facebook group or comment on someone’s blog, make sure you are contributing valuable information. Don’t post information about topics like UW-Stevens Point events or promotions unless you are sure it will be of interest to readers. Self-promoting behavior is unfavorable and can lead to being banned from websites or groups. 

Consider your audiences. Social media often creates  boundaries between professional and personal relationships. Use privacy settings to hide personal information on otherwise public sites. Choose profile photos carefully and be thoughtful about the type of photos you upload. 

Maintain your page.  Make sure that the page/group is maintained by an active administrator.

Think before you post. There’s no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can find posts years after they were published. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it’s wise to delay posting until you are calm and clearheaded. 

Maintain confidentiality. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about UW-Stevens Point, its students, its alumni or  employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow university policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA. If you discuss a situation involving individuals on a social media site, be sure they cannot be identified. As a guideline, don’t post anything that you would not present in a classroom or meeting.

Respect university time and property. University computers and your work time are to be used for university-related business. It’s appropriate to post at work if your comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, such as seeking sources for information or working with others to resolve a problem. You should maintain your personal sites on your own time using non-UW-Stevens Point computers.

We would like to recognize and thank DePaul University for sharing their social media policy with UW-Stevens Point.
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2 Comments

  1. You hit the nail on the head when you said, “…employees can also dissolve a brand in minutes.” So many people do not realize this when posting on social media websites. Very often, comments and postings go viral and it isn’t long before EVERYONE has seen it. This can be great for a company and its brand IF the comment or posting follows proper guidelines. However, as you said, this can also completely destroy a business and its brand if the guidelines are not followed properly.

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  2. All of your policies sound great. I think they were worded in a way that made them very easy to understand and would not make an employee feel like they are being punished or restricted in any way. Basically, it spells out “use common sense and common decency when posting about the brand.”

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