Sample letter outlining acceptable use of social media as an employee

Sample letter outlining acceptable use of social media as an employee

With more and more employees having access to social media during work time, whether for work purposes or on a private basis, it’s a good idea to make sure all staff are aware of their obligations as an employee when posting or joining in conversations.

Letter outlining acceptable use of social media as an employee – sample 1

To All Staff,

SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE AT WORK

The following is an outline of how we at [name of company] expect you to use social media while you are an employee of ours. It is important you read this thoroughly and sign to say you have understood and accept the terms outlined.

In future any breach of these terms will result in a breach of your terms of contract.

Unacceptable behaviour
In particular the following is deemed unacceptable use or behaviour by employees:

  • visiting internet sites that contain obscene, hateful, pornographic or otherwise illegal material
  • using the computer to perpetrate any form of fraud, or software, film or music piracy
  • using the internet to send offensive or harassing material to other users
  • downloading commercial software or any copyrighted materials belonging to third parties, unless this download is covered or permitted under a commercial agreement or other such licence
  • hacking into unauthorised areas
  • publishing defamatory and/or knowingly false material about [business name], your colleagues and/or our customers on social networking sites, ‘blogs’ (online journals), ‘wikis’ and any online publishing format
  • revealing confidential information about [business name] in a personal online posting, upload or transmission – including financial information and information relating to our customers, business plans, policies, staff and/or internal discussions
  • undertaking deliberate activities that waste staff effort or networked resources
  • introducing any form of malicious software into the corporate network
  • Company-owned information held on third-party websites
  • If you produce, collect and/or process business-related information in the course of your work, the information remains the property of [business name]. This includes such information stored on third-party websites such as webmail service providers and social networking sites, such as (but not limited to), Facebook and LinkedIn.

Social Media Policy
‘Social media‘ is the term commonly given to web-based tools which allow users to interact with each other in some way – by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests online. As the name implies, social media involves the building of online communities or networks to encourage participation and engagement.
This includes blogs, message boards, social networking websites (such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat), content sharing websites (such as flickr, YouTube, TikTok) and many other similar online channels.

Personal and professional responsibilities
This details personal and professional responsibilities for the participation in or use of social media as part of your job or whenever you identify yourself in a professional capacity as a [company name] employee.

Personal use of social media
Whether or not an individual chooses to create or participate in an online social network or any other form of online publishing or discussion is his or her own business. The views and opinions you express are your own.
As a [company name] employee it is important to be aware that posting information or views about [company name] cannot be isolated from your working life. Any information published online can, if unprotected, be accessed around the world within seconds and will be available for all to see and will contribute to your Online Digital Footprint.
Remember you are personally responsible for any content you publish.

Understand your online privacy settings – Check your settings and understand who can see the information you publish and your personal information.

  • All [company name] employees should be aware of and follow the information security policy.
  • If you do talk about the work you do or a [company name] service you are associated with, you should make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of [company name] Use a disclaimer such as: “The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the [company name] .”
  • Do not let your use of social media interfere with your job and always access in your own time.

2. Using social media as a [company name] employee

  • Your relationship with social media changes as soon as you identify yourself as a [company name] employee, speak in any kind of professional capacity or use any social media on [company name] business.
  • Always remember that participation online results in your comments being permanently available and open to being republished in other media.
  • You should also be aware that you may attract media interest in yourself or the organisation, so proceed with care whether you are participating in a business or a personal capacity. If you have any doubts, take advice from your manager.

2.1 Participation as an employee or professional capacity
As an employee, you must take the following into consideration when using social media:

  • You are personally responsible for any content you publish so be mindful that it is in the public domain and on the record for a long time.
  • If you wish to participate as a [company name] employee you should clearly identify yourself and your role. Make it clear whether you are acting in your professional capacity – and remember, even if you do not intend to, your professional role or status as a [company name] employee will affect the way you and the organisation are perceived and therefore brings certain responsibilities.
  • Be aware of your association with [company name] in online spaces. If you identify yourself as a [company name] employee, ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself with colleagues and customers.
  • Be professional. Make sure you are always seen to act in an honest, accurate, fair and responsible way at all times.
  • Be aware of your language and conduct. The rules governing staff conduct such as the Do we have a diversity and equal ops policy? still apply. Also, as in all publishing, you should be aware of issues such as libel, defamation and slander.
  • Never share confidential or sensitive information. You should know and follow the Confidentiality and Data Protection Policy. You have a unique inside track so be aware of the rules on data protection and financial regulations.
    Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective. [company name] ’s brand is best represented by its people and what you publish will reflect on the wider organisation.

2.2 Acting on behalf of the organisation or as part of your job
It is important to remember that there is a human cost in using social media as an employee or in a professional capacity.

Social Media is about the social connections and conversations we have with our customers, peers and friends. To gain the maximum value from these tools, you should look to foster relationships and therefore you will need to acknowledge and understand the commitment and investment of time in building and developing sustainable online relationships with people.

  • Understand the resources available to you to maintain and foster sustainable relationships.
  • Get official backing. Ensure you have the full approval and support of your manager before any official deployment of social media.
  • Be professional. Always remember that you are an ambassador for [company name] . Always disclose your position as a representative of [company name] , your department or team. Anything you publish will reflect directly on [company name] as a whole.
  • Purpose and outcomes. Make sure you think through why you are deploying social media and what outcome you wish to achieve. For example, if you are inviting public responses then think through how you will make use of the results and how this fits in with other forms of consultation. Ask yourself is social media appropriate for this activity?
  • Assess any risks. Think through any potential risks and make sure you have plans in place to manage and mitigate these.
  • Respect your target audience. Think about their specific needs and be aware of any language, cultural or other sensitivities you may need to take account of.
  • Ask and seek permission to publish any information, report or conversation that is not already in the public domain.
  • Do not cite or reference customers, partners or suppliers without their approval.
  • Respect copyright when linking to images or other online material.
  • Always stay within the legal framework and be aware that data protection, financial regulations apply.
  • Monitoring and evaluation. Make sure you have a plan for how you intend to monitor and evaluate the success of your activity.

Please sign below and return to [name of person to return to] by [date]

Signed [employee name]

Date [date]