Does Your Credit Union Have a Social Media Policy?
But what about employees? Last year, a receptionist at a credit union wrote a lengthy post on her blog about her work “pet peeves.” She named names, including her credit union, so it was viewable by anyone with access to Google. Thankfully, after it was found online, a concerned third-party contacted her and she took it down (read about the whole incident here).
Credit unions should have guidelines in place to ensure that employees don’t also inadvertently harm their brand online. For example, what do you do if a staff member posts negative comments about work on their personal twitter account or blog? You’ll want to be prepared. You’ll need a social media policy.
Let’s be clear because I’ve heard the term used a few different ways. A social media policy is not what websites your employees can and can’t visit at work (that’s most likely covered in your “employee internet usage guidelines” or similar policy) or what and when your marketing department is posting to your credit union’s Facebook page (likely in your social media strategy or marketing plan). Instead, it includes guidelines that clearly show appropriate employee use and behavior with social media.
So what should you include in the policy? A new research/white paper, “Social Media Guidelines & Policies,” from the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council and CUNA HR/TD Council (where I work) includes detailed information on the necessity of having a credit union social media policy and what it should include.
Jim Jerving—the paper’s author—looked at existing credit union social media policies and broke them down into major sections. Here is a high-level overview of sections from a very comprehensive policy:
- Introduction & Purpose – Who is the policy written for? Why?
- Core Values - Some credit unions may want to emphasize that their values and mission as an organization should be carried over online.
- Accountability – You are responsible for what you write.
- Inappropriate Use – What’s acceptable behavior?
- Financial Disclosure – If you mention a product online, advertising disclosure regulations must be met.
- Identification as Employee Online – If you do identify yourself as a CU employee online anywhere, how would the CU want you to be presented?
- Copyrights – Respect copyright laws, attributions, etc.
- Confidentiality – Don’t post any sensitive, confidential, proprietary, or financial information.
- Defense against Personal Attacks – If your credit union has a blog for example, a disclaimer that tell visitors to basically be nice to each other.
- All Rights Reserved & Hold Harmless – You need to state your legal rights as the owner of your CU’s blog while saying that those who comment in your blog are responsible for their comments.
- Language & Behavior – Another disclaimer on your CU’s social media site that tells visitors to keep it clean.
- Spam – Another disclaimer that tells your site visitors to not leave spam in the comments, etc.
- Security – Reminds employees to follow IT security rules, etc.
- Social Media Rapid Response – Who responds to positive & negative posts about the CU? How?
Or maybe you want to keep it short. Here is a sampling of policy wording from the HR Specialist:
- Don’t let personal use of Twitter or other social networking sites interfere with work.
- Employees must get company approval to use Twitter to conduct business. (Note: This isn’t far-fetched. Many organizations have successfully incorporated Twitter into their marketing strategies.)
- Any use of the organization’s name, trademarks, logos or other intellectual property must be approved.
- If employees make personal comments about any aspect of the organization’s business, their profiles must carry a disclaimer that the views expressed are their own, and not the organization’s.
- Tweets may not disclose confidential or proprietary information.
- Employees should use common sense about what they post.
Regardless of the length, it’s important to not just post your new guidelines on the intranet and be done with them. Revisit them from time to time with staff, have a workshop to talk about social media (and your policies), and always ensure they are mostly positive (instead of “don’t do this, don’t do that…”).
Now if only devising your credit union’s social media marketing strategy was this easy!