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Social Media Policy: Don’t do stupid things.

The debate around how to prevent employees from posting dumb shit on the internet is still happening. It’s not going away, because as long as our employees are human, they’re going to hit ‘post’ on the wrong things sometimes. Regardless of how long and intense our social media policy is.

Did the dress code policy prevent my college aged employee from wearing a shirt to work that said, ‘My favorite ride is yo mama’? Nope. Just like our social media policies won’t prevent the right person from posting the wrong thing.

Your Policy Doesn’t Make You Invincible

elizabeth lauton facebookDid you catch the comments written by Elizabeth Lauton, the GOP Staffer, about Obama’s kids?

First, let me promise you, the social media policy she signed before entering into her role was no less than twenty pages long. Second, she hit ‘post’…on a comment about the President of the United States of America’s children. Would you tweet about your bosses kid looking like a hooker at a bar? I don’t know, maybe you would. But if you’re going to send that little nugget of joy into the Twitterverse, the furthest thing from your mind is the social media policy you signed for work.

What’s my point? Social media policies don’t prevent people from posting stupid stuff on the internet. They insult the intelligence of the majority of employees who have self control. Squashing innovation and thought leadership along the way.

How You Can Encourage Thought Leadership

thought leadership

Let’s think about a business landscape where we don’t limit employee speech on the web by fear of termination. One where, instead, we talk to them about the ways they can use the outlet to connect and inspire others. In place of telling them not to use your company name in their stories and blogs, encourage them to post in the areas where they’re the subject matter expert.

Here’s some ideas to consider:

If you have hundreds of experts in your company passionately telling your story, you’re connecting, inspiring, and building a reputation as an amazing place to work and do business.

Ultimately I believe that the only policy you need is this: Don’t do stupid things that hurt the business.

Let’s face it, whether you have a social media policy or not, if an employee posts something dumb on the internet that puts your company at risk, you get to fire them. Not because of a breach in the social media policy, but because they put your brand in jeopardy.

Marisa Keegan
by Marisa Keegan Marisa Keegan has held culture and engagement roles inside two nationally recognized great places to work, started the networking group Culture Fanatics, and wrote the book Culture: More than Jeans and Margarita Machines. She was recognized as one of the Top 100 Employee Engagement Experts in the US in 2013 and is currently a consultant to organizations interested in creating a great culture.