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How To Write a Social Media Policy

I get a lot of requests to share the social media policy I helped draft for one of the nonprofit organizations I work with. So in the interest of making this easily accessible, below is the text I drafted. Feel free to copy and/or modify any of the Sample Social Media Policy Text – attribution is appreciated. If you have any questions, you can contact me at Susan@SusanChavez.com.

Additional resources on nonprofit social media policies follows the sample text.

Sample Social Media Policy Text

[Organization Name] SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES
The advent of social media has greatly increased our collective capacity to connect with one another and the communities we serve. It facilitates the healthy sharing of ideas and information with people and organizations committed to creating social good. [Organization Name] embraces social media and recognizes its power to help us continue our legacy—[Organization Mission in Brief].

Social media sites have become increasingly popular and valuable as a means of communication, networking, and otherwise. Establishing a presence on a social media site bears consideration of the guidelines outlined below:

The Privacy of Others
Make certain you have the permission of those you serve, including fellow volunteers, leadership, board members, staff, community partners and sponsors before publishing personal identifying information, including photographs. In some cases you may want to obtain a potential subject’s permission by way of a standard photo release form. Privacy rights of the individuals mentioned or exhibited should be of paramount concern. Photo release forms can be found at [Location of Organization’s Photo Release Form on Organization Website or Directions on How to Obtain Form].

Proprietary Information
Although the purpose of social media is to facilitate sharing information, some information because of its sensitive nature should remain private. If you have been asked to maintain confidentiality, honor it. When in doubt, ask.

Official v. Unofficial Communications
If you are not authorized to speak about [Organization Name] in an official capacity, make sure to identify your thoughts and opinions as your own and provide context for your content by identifying who you are and your relationship to [Organization Name]. Staff, board members and volunteers should consider posting a disclaimer on their personal website, blog, or network, such as “The views expressed herein are the personal opinions of (Individual’s Name). The content is not read or approved by [Organization Name] and does not necessarily represent the views of those parties.” The preceding does not mean that individual staff, board members, and volunteers cannot (or should not) establish a presence on social networking sites. Staff, board members, and volunteers who do so can certainly identify themselves as affiliated with [Organization Name] but they should identify the use of the [Organization Name] trademarks in an unofficial capacity. When in doubt please check with [Organization Name] at [Contact Information for Organization Marketing and Communications Department or Other Appropriate Department] about use of [Organization Name]’s brand. [Organization Name] will communicate with affiliates, staff, board members and volunteers that/who do not meet the above requirements.

Be a Good Citizen
Once you publish content via a blog, Facebook, Flickr, a wiki, etc., it can be difficult to take back. In your writing be respectful of your audience. It is acceptable to express disagreement but it should not devolve into personal attacks, obscenities or other disparaging and hurtful language.

Be a Team Player
If you are citing information from another source by referring to it in a blog post, retweeting content, etc., make sure you credit the original source. One simple way to do this is by embedding a hyperlink to the original information source and/or crediting the author. In general, content creators enjoy having others link to and share their work and doing so in a matter that respects the creator’s intellectual property might win you an online fan.

Social Media Policy Resources

For further reading on social media policies, and to see sample policies, visit the following:

 

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