Social media and social networking, including websites and applications that allow users to create and share content, have become ubiquitous. Joining the social networking revolution may be very easy for individuals, but establishing best practices for organizations that want or need to be actively engaged with social media is not. Initial considerations tend to focus on the social media platform at issue (e.g., a Facebook post, LinkedIn recommendation, Reddit thread) and how best to manage corporate interactions within those frameworks. But a deeper dive reveals the gulf between how organizations think social media works (or should work) and what their employees are actually doing online – in some cases, as unintentional company representatives.
In a recent book chapter published as part of the Practicing Law Institute – Ethics in Social Media 2015 Seminar, Social Media’s Not For You—It’s About You: Risk Considerations for Organizations and Practitioners in Yet Another Age of Uncertainty, we address a number of important topics for organizations testing the boundaries in this new frontier of public relations, including
- Employee use of social media and related copyright, trademark, and data breach considerations;
- Safeguards associated with protecting organizational intellectual property and trade secrets;
- Laws, regulatory guidance, and jurisprudence applicable to social media program maintenance and employer control;
- The phenomenon of nonpaying users of social media sites finding themselves to be more commodity than customer; and
- Social media-based threats.
The article also provides a detailed list of considerations for organizations to review when implementing or improving social media policies and related programs.