Social Media Policy

"Trust is Cheaper Than Control"
"Trust is Cheaper Than Control"


Facebook Page discussion and blog post that lead to these insights


What is in a social media policy for a nonprofit?

Your policy should have two sections:

(1) Guidelines: This section should be one or pages that summarizes how your organization can be more effective at using social media. It should not be about control, but more on how to use the tools effectively. It should lay out parameters around organizational and personal use.

(2) Manual: This section refers to your social media plan, includes best practices on using social media with specific examples. Many organizations use it as part of their training.


What is the process for creating the policy?

If your organization is still grappling with fears and concerns, you may need to have a couple of meetings to discuss these issues. Here are some tips.

You need to determine the following. If your nonprofit is a large organization with many staff, you'll want to consult with HR, Legal, IT, and other key departments. You may need a couple of meetings to discuss and review the following:
  • Do you need a social media policy?
  • Who should be involved writing the policy?
  • Who will vet the policy?
  • Don't reinvent the wheel, borrow from other policies (a good starter tool: Social Media Policy Tool) and you can also review a couple of examples of Social Media Policies developed by nonprofits.

See more advice here

What are some tips about actually writing the document?

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Download this handbook to help you think through the policy

Strike the Right Tone:
  • Clarity
  • Avoid legalese
  • Use bullet points
  • Light, Casual Tone
  • Avoid punitive language
  • Practical
  • Keep it short and easy to implement

Here is an example about to organize your guidelines:



Preamble: What the policy covers
Section 1: How your organization uses social media
Section 2: Link social media to your values and culture
Section 3: The Policy
Section 4: Consequences & discipline
Who to contact with questions and concerns

List of Policy Points as Tweets



2013 Articles on Social Media Policy
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/22/technology/employers-social-media-policies-come-under-regulatory-scrutiny.html



Training, Education and Enforcing
How will you roll it out?
What kind of training is needed?

Annual Updates
Why Your Social Media Policy Needs An Annual Update
Ten Tips for Writing Your Social Media Policy

Specific Examples and Advice from Nonprofits

Mayo Clinic: http://sharing.mayoclinic.org/guidelines/for-mayo-clinic-employees/
DHS Wisconsin: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/wic/WICPRO/training/trainers/social-media.pd
Children’s Hospital L.A. encourages patients and families to tell their stories on the hospital website. The way they work within HIPPA rules is by employing a 3-step process where the person submitting the story must:

Policy Collections
57 Examples of Social Media Policies by Dave Fleet
Examples of Social Media Policies by Beth Kanter
Social Media Policy Tool
Norstroms Guidelines
Jennifer Jone's Curated List of Policy Advice and Examples

Social Engagement Handbook 2.0


Nonprofit Case Studies and Advice
Red Cross Social Media Policy Case Study
Should A CEO Remove Burning Man Photos from Facebook?
Social Media Policy: Don't Moon People With Cameras or At Least Hide Your Face While You Do It
Tweet Freely: Your Social Media Policy and You
Hippa and Social Media: What You Need To Know
Social Media, Risk, and Policies for Associations
Does Your Social Media Policy Violate Federal Laws?


Ford Social Media Guidelines



More Tips and Advice from Corporate Sector
SNCR Best Practices for Social Media Guidelines
7 Critical Questions To Ask About Developing a Social Media Policy
Ten Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy from Mashable
Collection of Ongoing Articles from Scoop It
Additional Policies To Consider

Nonprofits, Young People, and Social Media Policy
Young People and Privacy and Social Media (Read the comments)
Katie Bacon Blog
2013 discussion on Facebook

Here are some resources for kids’ safety online
Stay Safe Online
FEMA Guidelines for Kids
Get Net Wise


Nonprofits and Sensitive Issues: Domestic Violence, Suicide Prevention
Facebook Safety Board/Questions related to Domestic Violence
Example from Next Door Solutions of warning on the FB Page
National Association of Social Workers Web Site/Code of Ethics, Facebook Page
Technology Safety Planning for Survivors
Social Network and Privacy Tips for Domestic Violence Services
For licensed counselors maintaining their own page: Read this


Policies for LinkedIn Endorsements -
LinkedIn Referral Policies
Should LinkedIn References be Covered By HR Policy?
LinkedIn Recommendations or LinkedIn Lies
Discussion and Advice on Google +

Facebook - Privacy Settings
A Step-by-Step Guide

Policies for Facebook - More for User Guidelines

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There is also a need for online community participation guidelines for Facebook. These can be a brief and simple reminder about civility and respect and deleting in appropriate comments.

Advice dealing with negative comments:
http://www.connectioncafe.com/posts/2011/05-may/haters-what-can-you-do.html
http://www.nten.org/blog/2011/07/12/haters-gonna-hate-dealing-negative-feedback-social-world
http://philanthropy.com/blogs/social-philanthropy/facebook-flap-puts-girl-scouts-in-center-of-controversy/28424