Employees and social media use outside of work

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As the importance of social media grows in our everyday lives, so too, it does impact our working lives. Many employers expect their employees to act appropriately on social media outside of working hours as inappropriate use of social media can have dramatic consequences on their employment. Employees have the right to post what they want on their social media accounts/pages. However, they can get in trouble if their posts cause harm to the company’s business. Today’s blog is all about employees and social media use outside of work.

In this article we will discuss what are the main concerns of having a social media policy and what a powerful social media policy looks like! 

Sometimes, it can be a sticky situation when employees on social media post about the company they work for. Any behavior that causes harm to the company’s business may potentially lead to employee termination. Most employers expect their employees to act appropriately on social media outside of work and employees too should be mindful of the company’s reputation on social media. 

Any type of negative comments about the company can instantly result in employee termination. Companies should have a social media policy by means of which employees know what they should or shouldn’t do on social media channels. 

To ensure there are no major issues in the future, every organization must frame a simple, clear and accessible social media policy and that policy should be updated from time to time. 

Creating A Strong Social Media Policy 

A powerful social media policy protects the company and outlines how an organization and its employees should conduct themselves online. Prior to onboarding an employee, they should be familiarized with the company’s social media policy, which consists of the dos and don’ts of using social media inside and outside the workplace. 

The policy should also have in place what possible punishments are for violating the policy, be it immediate termination, suspension etc. 

Here’s what to include in your company’s social media policy: 

Clarify The Roles 

Assigning your team, specific roles/responsibilities clarifies who is authorized to speak for your brand on social media and who isn’t. Define your team’s roles like who owns which social accounts? Who covers which responsibility on a daily, weekly, or as-needed basis? It’s important to include names and email addresses so that employees from other teams know who to contact. The responsibilities include regular posting, regular customer service, strategy and planning, advertising, security and passwords, approvals (legal, financial or otherwise), and social media training for other employees. 

Personal Account Guidelines 

It’s true that you cannot control everything your employees do and say on their personal social media accounts. However, it’s important to let them know why their behavior on personal profiles affects your company. The world always sees your staff members as a reflection of your brand. So if your employees are acting doubtful online, this raises suspicion about your brand too.  

Posting hate speech, harassment or threats of violence on social media may violate your organization’s code of ethics. So the employees should know that they would be held responsible for what they say. 

Your social media policy should comprise the basic expectations about how your people should behave. For instance, they need to respect the company laws and avoid saying negative things about your brand or other companies. 

Use Disclaimers 

If your employees mention your business in their personal profile, they should also include a disclaimer saying their opinions or comments do not reflect the point of view of their company or organization, which they’re working for. 

Stay Compliant With The Law 

Each and every employee should follow laws on copyrights, trademarks, plagiarism and privacy. Also, your social media policy must provide clear guidelines on how to handle sensitive areas particularly regarding law and industry regulations. Make sure your policy refers to the credit sources, privacy and disclosure procedures, and regulatory changes. You may outline the rules that may be associated with your industry. 

Make Security The Highest Priority

Include guidelines in your social media policy that cover: 

  • How to create secure passwords and set up two-factor authentication for the associated social media accounts.
  • How to keep the software updated and the devices secure.
  • How to identify social media risks and attacks. 
  • How to respond if a security breach takes place. 
  • How to use common sense for security. 
  • The safer your employees are with their social media actions, the more secure your business becomes.
  • Launch or Re-launch Your Social Media Policy

Make the necessary changes in your company’s social media policy whenever required. Whether you want to make revisions or launch a brand new policy document, make sure it reaches everyone’s eyes. You can announce it via internal email or in a meeting. 

Social Media Policy Examples Of Top Companies 


Intel has done an excellent job crafting their Social Media Guidelines and separates their policy into 3 Rules of Engagement: Disclose (your presence in the social media must be transparent), Protect (take extra care to protect both Intel and yourself) & Use Common Sense (remember that professional, straightforward and appropriate communication is best). 

Coca Cola

Coca Cola’s online social media principles effectively convey the organization’s vision and strategy surrounding social media use for business purposes. Their 5 Core Social Media Values are Transparency, Protection, Respect, Responsibility, and Utilization. 


IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines continually reviewed as social media tools evolve. One of IBM’s core values is – Trust & Personal Responsibility in All Relationships. As a company, IBM trusts and expects its employees to exercise personal responsibility whenever they participate in social computing.

Ford Motor Company 

Ford’s digital participation guidelines are focused on 5 core principles: honesty about who you are, the clarity that your opinions are your own, respect and humility in all communication, sound judgment in sharing only public information and awareness that what you say is permanent.

Overall View on Employees and social media use outside of work

Social media in and outside the workplace doesn’t have to be a terrifying thing. Instead, you need to make it more understandable to your employees so that they have the power to deliver incredible results for your company. Remember, your policy is a living document that should be revisited every year and updated accordingly. 

If you found this article helpful you might also like to read about these 15 Asana Alternatives and Why Social Media will NEVER replace face-to-face Networking

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