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Include these two statements in your social media policy to avoid ending up with egg on your face...

by , 18 March 2013
Lately, social media is playing a bigger role in our daily lives than ever before. We don't just update our location, thoughts and feelings; we use sites like Facebook and Twitter to follow court cases like Oscar Pistorius' recent bail hearing or the Steubenville rape verdict. And we increasingly believe anything that's published in the social media space - whether it's backed by fact or not. This shows why it's so important to have a social media policy in place to guide your employees into knowing when to comment and when to keep quiet in the social media space - here are two important aspects to include that'll prevent your company from any mistakes your employees publish in the social media space.

Court cases are often fascinating to the public.
And social media makes it increasingly easy to follow the cases – each word is criticised, and the verdict often leads to days of comments.
Unfortunately, it's easy for your business to be tarred with the same brush if your employee unthinkingly comments in the social media space, or even retweets a colourful comment.
Take last year's Twitter debacle with FHM model Jessica Leandra for example.
Leandra tweeted her annoyance about a confrontation in a supermarket.
She used a derogatory word, and instantly lost the respect of the South African public, as well as many modelling contracts and titles, says the DailyMail
It's easy to slip up and type the wrong thing if your emotions have been sparked.
Before you know it, the whole world has seen the comment – and associated your company with the employee who typed it.
Get your employees to add this disclaimer to their social media accounts…
That's why a key component of many social media policies is to insist that employees add a line to their social media biographies stating 'all comments my own, not those of my employer', says the Social Media Policy Template Centre.
It's the easiest way to save face if your employee does slip up in the social media space.
But the last thing you should do is ask your employee to delete a derogatory comment from his Facebook or Twitter account – someone will have already taken a screen shot as proof, and you'll just be seen as dishonest.
One piece of advice that'll keep your employees from losing face in the social media space…
Rather make sure all your employees sit through a quick social media training session.
Explain the type of comments they should avoid making in the social media space.
The best way to do so is to ask them to stop and think before they press 'publish', 'post' or 'send'.
If they wouldn't be happy with their mom, child or manager seeing the comment, they should rather rephrase or not publish anything at all.
"If they want privacy, they should write in a journal and hide it under their mattress," says the Sacramento Bee.
It's a great way to keep your company out of trouble for your employees' quick fire comments in the social media space.

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