Starting Off On The Right Foot

The Facility Services Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has only recently created a social media standing, so compiling a Social Media Policy in these early stages is a very beneficial task. A policy such as this would be more prevalent in a company with younger or more technologically “wired” employees, but as we grow and develop ourselves on social media, problems may arise that this policy would help to ameliorate. Being simply a college student, coming up with a cohesive, concise, and worthwhile policy for a real company was a daunting task. So, I decided to find a great social media policy by an established corporation, who’s social media is very important to its public image: Adidas. I had looked at many policies, but this one had a very likable rhetoric, it was well thought out and organized, and included everything I wanted it to and more. I modeled my social media policy for Facility Services after Adidas’ policy by cutting out anything that wasn’t applicable to our department and adding words or phrases that needed to added to clarify certain points. After all that, I came up with the following policy:

Social Media Policy for UWSP’s Facility Services Department

  • When you discuss Facility Services, you must identify yourself with your name and, when relevant, your role at Facility Services. Only very few people in this company are official spokespersons for us, so if you are not one of them, you must make clear that you are speaking for yourself and not for the Department. You can use a disclaimer like “The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the position, strategy or opinions of Facility Services and its brand”. Please always write in the first person and don’t use your company email address for private communications. And, please consider that even anonymous postings on Wikipedia can be traced back to the company.
  • You are personally responsible for the content you publish on blogs, wikis or any other form of user-generated media. Please remember that the Internet never forgets. This means everything you publish will be visible to the world for a very, very long time. Common sense is a huge factor here. If you are about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, review. If you are still unsure and it is related to Facility Services, talk to your manager or supervisor.
  • Just because information is on the internal network (like emails, newsletters, etc.), it is not ok to let the rest of the world know about it. If an item features the sentence “for internal use only” then that is exactly what it means, and it is absolutely not meant to be forwarded to anyone who is not employed by Facility Services. No exceptions. Messages from superiors to employees are not meant for the media.
  • It is perfectly fine to talk about your work and have a dialogue with the community (see # 2), but it is not okay to talk about designs, projects or other company happenings before they are meant to be public. If the judgment call is tough on secrets or other issues discussed, please ask your manager before you publish or forward. Please act responsibly with the information you are entrusted with.
  • Do not comment on work-related legal matters unless you are an official spokesperson, and have the legal approval by the Facility Service Department. In addition, talking about revenues, future products, pricing decisions, unannounced financial results or similar matters will get you, the company, or both into serious trouble. Stay away from discussing financial topics and predictions of future performance at all.
  • Respect your audience. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the Facility Services’ workplace. You should also show proper consideration for others privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory (like religion or politics). If you are in a virtual world as a Facility Services representative, please dress and behave accordingly. We all appreciate respect.
  • Think about consequences. Please remember: Using your public voice to trash or embarrass your employer, your customers, your co-workers or even yourself is not okay – and not very smart.
  • Be truthful. Be the first to respond to your own mistake. In a blog, if you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so.
  • Don’t cite or reference clients, partners or suppliers without their approval. When you do make a reference, where possible, link back to the source.
  • Be aware that others will associate you with your employer when you identify yourself as such. Please ensure that your Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter or other social media profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself with clients and colleagues.
  • Even if you act with the best intentions, you must remember that anything you put out there about the Facility Service Department can potentially harm the company. This goes for all internal media as well, like the intranet or any newsletters you send out. As soon as you act on the company’s behalf by distributing information, you are upholding the company’s image. Please act responsibly. If in doubt, please contact the your manager before you hit the send button.

With this guiding our social media, which right now is merely a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/UWSPFacilityServices?ref=aymt_homepage_panel), our department will have clear guidelines and advice for how to conduct themselves online in respect to their place of employment.

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1 Comment

  1. Nice work, Jacob! Your policy is very thorough and well thought out. It’s a great idea to use another company’s framework, then tweak it so the policy specifically applies to your organization.

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