Social Media Code of Conduct
It’s a big, bad world out there in Social Media land, and the corporate & non-profit worlds have taken notice. Posting opinions counter to company policy, writing misleading personal blog entries, or sharing compromising pictures have all landed employees and their respective companies in hot water over the last couple of years.
This blog has and will continue to defend the merit and benefit of using these social media tools to better serve a charity’s mission – but how do you traverse this code of conduct terrain? How do you do it on a limited budget, say as a smaller non-profit? Here are a few quick, easy guidelines that everyone should follow, but that don’t hinder the process of sharing your message or mission across these powerful platforms.
- Encourage your staff to use these new resources: these tools are fantastic ways of interacting with donors & volunteers; staff members should have the freedom to communicate without fear of retribution.
- Be sure to let them know if you have any policy regarding use of the company logo or confidential information: the more your staff knows before using these mediums, the less trouble you’ll run into down the road.
- Encourage them to interact with any active company sponsored accounts: these platforms were created to generate relationships & communication – be sure your staff openly communicates with your company’s account to help drive more donors & volunteers back to your streamlined message.
- Understand that you can’t control everything: it can be easy to set forth strict guidelines on what can & cannot be posted, require disclaimers for any personal insights, and ban use of these tools at the workplace. But in the social media sphere, as with life, you don’t know what you don’t know; keeping open recommendations & communication with your staff is your best attack for future issues.
Here are some examples of social networking codes of conduct; YMCA, IFRC, and Powerhouse Museum. These are a bit more comprehensive, but can serve as a good basis if you are looking for something more formal than the initial guidelines outlined here.
Above all else – it is important to understand that with rapidly changing mediums come rapidly changing rules. The more flexible and trusting you are of your staff, the more likely they will be able to come to you with ideas that can help your organization grow in this new social landscape. Take advantage of the resources available to you and you can truly change your impact.