Writing a Social Media Usage Policy – The Lawyer & The Marketer’s Perspective

Credit: Dan Foy

I recently attended a PRSA-NY event entitled “Regulatory Scrutiny of Social Media” that was co-hosted by Michael Lasky, Partner, Co-Chair Litigation, Public Relations Law at Davis & Gilbert LLP. Michael shared some sage advice during the session on everything from the impact of FTC regulations on marketers and PR folks in social media to crafting a social media policy for your organization. I found his advice straightforward and simple to understand and follow if you are working in a corporation or agency. Often organizations are so focused on restricting use of social media that they forget to encourage positive behavior that can benefit the company and the brand.

Here is a summary of Michael’s outline for drafting a Social Media Usage Policy which will satisfy the lawyers and the marketers:

  1. Create a policy that includes:
    • Permitted conduct
    • Encouraged conduct
    • Prohibited conduct
    • Company’s rights and remedies if these policies are violated
  2. Educate employees not to violate others’ intellectual property rights (i.e. copyrights, trademarks)
  3. Prohibit disclosure of confidential information
  4. Ensure that discussions regarding competitors are not overly-negative or inflammatory
  5. Prohibit employees from posting objectionable content
  6. Educate employees to disclose that their statements reflect their own opinions, not the company’s
  7. Ensure that employees disclose their connection to the company when posting about its products or services
  8. What’s in your policy? Feel free to share your suggestions to add to this list.