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Many schools, universities, and libraries are devising policies for faculty, and students, outlining acceptable use guidelines for blogs and other social media. In a time when the distinction between personal and professional realms is fading, it seems everyone has a Facebook or Twitter profile now, and a social media policy is a way to set some ground rules for your employees.  It provides a standard for how they will post content that could ultimately reflect on your organization.

What to include in a social media policy

First, take a look at the types of applications you have, like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks, as you are devising an internal policy.  Look into establishing best practices for each, and suggestions for posting, since each is slightly different.

[Image Courtesy of Corporate Legal Exchange. Copyright 2012.]

Here are a few basics to include in all social media policies:

-- A disclaimer. In all social channels, state that the opinions expressed are not representative of the organization as a whole.

-- Proprietary information. Don’t allow disclosure of sensitive information like financial details or private information about co-workers or clients/patrons, for example.

-- Copyrights.  Make sure your employees understand copyright and fair use laws regarding republishing protected content and sources.  While employees should be responsible, the company should also have a DMCA policy in place to ensure that any take-down requests are handled properly.

-- Respecting colleagues. Privacy of your coworkers is typically outlined in an employee handbook.  Posting photos, video clips, or information about them without permission should be highlighted in a social media policy.

-- Avoid being argumentative. Responses to someone’s opinion should be handled in a non-controversial professional tone.

-- Check your accuracy.  Ensuring that your posts are accurate and factual is paramount.

-- Use good judgment – what you put out there is out there forever.  The image of your library is archived permanently once online.  There are very few social websites that can completely eliminate your post from online searches.

Here are some university libraries’ social media policies:

-          Arcadia University: The College of Global Studies’ social media policy

-          Purdue

-          Ferris State University

-          Ball State University

-          Tufts University

TIP: It’s a good idea to assign just one administrator to manage all of your library’s social media posts, including the moderation of comments.

Practicing what I preach: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent those of ProQuest.  And please consult with your own marketing professionals and legal advisors when creating your organization’s social media policy.

05 Aug 2013 | Posted by Shannon Janeczek

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