Social Media Policy For Businesses

Are you empowering your people to surf or are you still trying to control the ocean?

Social Media Policy

Do you empower your people to use Social Media?

As social media becomes more integrated into our daily life, it is difficult to regulate employees. Too often, businesses shy away from social media. However, businesses fail to realize each employee is creating an impression of your business by what they are saying about you online. In many cases, what your employees say casually might not be the impression you want your company to project. It is easier to have clear guidelines than to try to control every action.

A social media policy is every bit as important to the company as any other policy. In fact, your social media policy should be part of your corporate culture.

The most famous example of this is the seven-word policy used by Zappos: “Be Real and Use Your Best Judgment.” While this policy is too simplistic for most companies, Zappos is able to make it work by incorporating it into every part of their corporate culture.

One employee with a bad attitude or a bad sense of humor can have a negative effect on entire brand or the “personality of your business.” The wrong type of exposure online can ruin anyone’s business.

The best way to protect your business from inappropriate social media exposure is with a social media policy. Here’s what you need to be aware of in order to create a good social media policy.

Identify What is Proprietary Information

Every business has information that cannot be discussed with outsiders. This could be a special process, a secret recipe or client details. A good social media policy will spell out exactly what type of information is confidential and not to be shared.

Make clear that logos, trademarks, company signatures, and company uniforms should not be used in images and posts unless actually speaking for the company.

Infringing on someone else’s copyrights or trademarks should also be discussed. In many cases, people don’t understand that they are infringing.  Ignorance is neither an excuse nor a defense.

Spell Out Any Moral Clauses

Many businesses have ‘moral clauses’ in their employment contracts. Be clear about the type of content that is not acceptable to post on the business’ social media sites.  What is offensive to your company might not be offensive to your employee.

If your industry deals with children or other special groups, you might have additional clauses in your social media policy.

Designate A Company Spokesperson

A Social Media spokesperson is the go-to person for any questions regarding what is and is not appropriate online. Companies with a designated social media spokespeople find that they have far fewer social media gaffes than those without one.

Encourage People To Be Civil Online

It’s not just what people say online, it’s how they say it. You don’t want an employee to purposely offending others.  Encourage people to be civil to others online, even when they disagree with what’s posted.

Some businesses require pre-approval, or two sets of eyes, on responses to negative reviews and other difficult content.

Be Aware Of What’s Protected Speech

It’s common for people to complain about their jobs online. After all, social media is the new water cooler. When a company finds statements such as “I hate my job” or “my boss is a jerk” online, one natural impulse is to fire that employee.  So many companies did fire employees for posting negative statements on their personal accounts, in fact, that the courts have ruled some of this as “protected speech.”

There are two kinds of work bashing that are considered protected speech online: venting and discussing.

Venting is loosely defined as someone complaining to let off stream. As long as they don’t give away any proprietary information, or engage in “instigating speech,” employees are permitted to post content in this category without repercussions.

Discussing wages or working conditions with other employees or outsiders in an effort to improve wages and working conditions is considered “union activities,” and is governed by the National Labor Relations Act.  This is true even if your business or industry does not have a union.

Educate Employees

When and where an employee can post should also be spelled out. Are they allowed to post from work? How about a work related event or retreat?

Discuss Consequences

A rule without a consequence is just a suggestion. The same is true with your social media policy. Without consequences properly spelled out, no one will take your policy seriously.

Are all offenses treated the same? Is one offense enough to be fired or does your company have a “three strikes and you’re out” rule? Whatever the rules, whatever the consequence, make sure your employees know and agree to them.


When social media is used correctly, employees can help spread the word about your company and build your brand. The key to making this happen is to have the right policies in place. A good Social Media Policy will encourage polite, respectful interaction without disclosing confidential information of the company or your clients. A social media policy is not just a nice thing for businesses to have, it’s a necessity.

by Martin Brossman and Karen Tiede 

Learn more about their Social Media Management Certificate program:

Special thanks to Mercedes Tabano II for research.

Strategy for Social Media Marketing Management

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Word for the Day: Webcare

Rather than women or Internet-savvy youths, older men are the most likely demographic group to complain online.

“Webcare” is the translation of a Dutch word that means “using social media to do customer support.”

Graphic from Olga ter Voert from TNS NIPO showing where people post reviews, by motivation.

Graphic from Olga ter Voert from TNS NIPO showing where people post reviews, by motivation.

Click on the image to go to the original post.

The Social Media Prism

The Conversation Prism v. 3

The Conversation Prism gives you a whole view of the social media universe, categorized and also organized by how people use each network. V 3.0 introduces new groups and networks and also removes those networks no longer in play. Use the Conversation Prism to see what you’re missing!

Click on the image to go to the website where you can see more posters about social media.

Your competition works for … bees?

The Johannesburg Zoo has a tweeting Honey Badger.

Ferocious.  Relentless.  Extremely thick-skinned.

Perfect for the position of social media manager.

Honey Badgers eat bees, among other things I don’t want to eat.

The tweeting badger from the Johannesburg Zoo.

The tweeting badger from the Johannesburg Zoo.

Apparently, the badger is selective about whom he follows.

If you do social media management for a zoo or animal rescue group, think about how you can use the Honey Badger example in your organization

Aweber is Hiring a Social Media Manager

Social Media Manager (for Aweber, an email marketing company)

Note:  We included more text than usual from this position because it will be filled quickly and probably removed from the web. We know the company better than the other help-wanted ads we share with our students. One of the instructors is an Aweber customer.

The company is 100% invested in the social media market and understands, probably more than many older brick-and-mortar businesses, what this position both offers and requires.

It is a bit of a surprise that Aweber is advertising for this position, rather than promoting from within. However, they may already have an internal candidate for the position; sometimes ads are either fishing expeditions or EEOC-compliance exercises.

This position is MUCH larger than many freelance, part-time, or small-agency social media marketing managers usually encounter.  It requires much more of a corporate background, or at least a well-grounded (proven!) understanding of what it’s like to work in a multi-million dollar company. Students and graduates who have come to the Social Media Manager Certificate Program from Fortune 1000 backgrounds will understand how these cross-functional, communication, and liaison skills are critical in a larger business.

The Social Media Manager Position

The Social Media Manager will own the Social Media strategy, management and execution for Aweber’s social presence. The Manager will work closely with other internal departments (PR, Sales, Product, Creative, HR, Customer Solutions) to meet/exceed company Social Media objectives and goals. Success for this role is measured by the evolution of our impact in Social Media (from an acquisition, retention and customer service standpoint), and across other paid, owned and earned efforts.

Our team includes smart people who appreciate talented goal seekers, continuous learning, experimentation and a lust for creating and implementing cutting edge solutions. We welcome those who share these passions to apply.

Qualifications for the Social Media Manager Position

  • Minimum of 3 years managing a social media presence in an agency/product/brand environment.
  • Bachelor’s Degree preferred.
  • Comfortable working in an informal, high-energy team environment.
  • Proven ability to effectively work cross-functionally across the company.
  • Excellent project management skills (i.e. Effectively owning something from concept through completion/launch).
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of social media platforms, their respective strengths/weaknesses and how they can function successfully as a holistic solution.
  • Knowledge of the blogging/earned media ecosystem for messaging platforms
  • Effective articulation of ideas and complex concepts in written and verbal forms.
  • Ability to effortlessly /effectively build and maintain internal and external relationships.
  • Proven results as a team player and independent contributor.
  • Proven ability to serve as a discipline/practice lead that can influence other departments (specifically PR, Product, Sales, Creative, Tech, HR) effortlessly.
  • Have proven knowledge of other digital marketing channels (e.g. SEO, PPC, Display, Email, Affiliates) and their impact/influence on social efforts.

Responsibilities of the Social Media Manager

  • Develop and implement the external and internal social media strategy, coordinating with key stakeholders across the multiple departments to ensure its effectiveness.
  • Serve as the key liaison between our internal departments and external-facing social media content, driving key initiatives around customer service and our social media policies, protocols and workflow processes.
  • Manage social media campaigns and day-to-day responsibilities. Duties include proactively managing content calendar, community outreach efforts, facilitating the resolution of customer inquiries, developing paid/earned tests, developing our brand advocates & influencers, driving innovation, etc.
  • Manage and develop our presence on social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora and other similar community sites. Maintain our presence on relevant blogs, and develop relationships and innovative tests as needed.
  • Become an advocate of the company (both internally and externally) in social media spaces (including mobile, video, local), participating in webinars, trade shows and conferences as needed.
  • Develop and monitor relevant benchmarks around the impact of our social media programs. Create and analyze holistic reports for company stakeholders.
  • Own the identification and negotiation for additional, relevant tools necessary to be effective in the position.
  • Monitor trends in social media tools and innovations and report/present them internally.

Tom Kulzer on Mixergy

Tom Kulzer, Founder of Aweber

Tom Kulzer, Founder of Aweber

Andrew Warner of Mixergy interviewed Tom Kulzer, Founder of Aweber, on May 10, 2013.  It was not Andrew’s greatest interview, IMO, and Tom handled a few inappropriate questions gracefully.  If you are not a Mixergy Premium member, you can’t hear the interview anymore.  However, you can read the transcript.  Should you apply for the position, you would do well to included this interview in your preparation.

Help Wanted Ad Content

In this post, we are collecting a selection of extracts from help-wanted positions we find around the internet. The paragraphs collected in this post are offered to our students and graduates as a means of expanding their thinking about how they offer their services to their own target market.

(Note: we are not planning to keep these listings up-to-date.  Many of the positions will be pulled off the web once they are filled. The links may not work. The point of the post is to share the content.)

Child’s Play Communications

Child’s Play Communications, the award-winning specialists in public relations, social media word-of-mouth communications and online marketing targeting moms, seeks a full-time Social Media Manager to strategize and execute social media initiatives for multiple clients.
Responsibilities include:

  • Advising on social network strategy for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms
  • Developing and posting content for all of the above
  • Analyzing and reporting results using appropriate software
  • Client relations


  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience in a social media agency or public relations agency
  • Experience developing social network strategy and content for multiple accounts simultaneously
  • Ideally, extensive background developing social media strategy and content targeted toward moms/parents
  • Understanding of social media analytics programs
  • Experience advising brands on all of the above
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to multi-task, meet deadlines and work independently in a fast-paced environment
  • Enthusiasm, professionalism and a passion for social media and public relations


Graduate Online / Social Media Manager – Entrepreneurial Start-up

Relevant paragraph:
You will lead and develop the implementation of the online strategy, utilising brand-building social channels including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the company website, to enhance the generation of business for other members of the team. As much as you will need to have a clear strategy for how you will deliver the company vision online, you will also be equally at home creating all types of content either alone (such as blogs, tweets, competitions etc) or alongside other professionals such as videographers and designers. This work will include hands-on management of a complete tip-to-toe rebrand and website rebuild within your first few months.

Social Media Manager

If you would like to join our team as social media manager, get in touch: email address provided on the associated website.


  •  Facebook communication (posts, engaging with users and fans, etc)
  •  Planning and coordination of social media activities (editorial calender)
  •  Other Social Media activities (Blog, Twitter, etc)
  •  Communication with marketing and content team
  •  Creating, proofreading and translating texts as needed (for website, presentations, marketing material)

Fluent in German and English

  •   Startup enthusiast, interest in ecommerce and social media
  •   <snip>
  •  Experience in social media management a plus


Social Media Manager

Wanted: A forward thinking social media expert, experienced in working with editors & journalists to produce compelling content.

  •   Define and implement content driven social strategies under the guidance of the TRUE team
  •   Liaise with leading editors, journalists, photographers and video teams to execute campaigns
  •   Monitor, interpret and report relevant social data in conjunction with key business objectives
  •   Be proactive delivering industry insight within Content Marketing, Social Media and Digital innovation
  •   Have experience in content planning and copywriting
  •   Research and create relevant posts, articles
  •   Manage in-house and client campaigns
  •   Work with external partners to meet agreed targets
  •   Work with the design team to create appropriate digital assets
  •   Develop and maintain relationships with clients, online press and bloggers
  •   Identify and promote industry trends to the teams in London and New York
  •   Attend relevant industry events as a representative of TRUE
  •   Be comfortable in reporting and presenting to management and clients
  •   Experience supporting commercial teams with pitch and sales material such as Keynote and Power Point
  •   Be extremely self-motivated to make a difference in a rapidly expanding business


New Uses of Social Media

This is a growing “collection” post, where we post information about businesses and organizations using social media in new ways.

Australian Elections

HootSuite, makers of the market-leading social media management system, has built a custom Australian Election Tracker to share real-time social media updates about the 2013 Australian federal election. The live display will highlight the social element of this hard-fought campaign in one place right up until the next prime minister is announced.
We saw the original story here:

Here’s a screen shot of the Australian Election Tracker:

Screen shot of the Australian Election Tracker built by Hootsuite to help voters follow the election commentary in social media.

Screen shot of the Australian Election Tracker built by Hootsuite to help voters follow the election commentary in social media.

Charities Using Images in Social Media (or not)

Charities are failing to exploit the potential of images and video in social media, according to a survey carried out by PR and social media agency Aberfield Communications.
This article is a tiny bit suspect because it was written by a business wanting to make money helping charities do social media. At the same time, the article presents a reasonably balanced perspective of how charities can increase the impact of their message with carefully planned images and video.
If you will be working for a non-profit organization, it’s worth reading to help understand the different points of view.

Job outlook for social media managers

To be a social media manager, you need to be able to evaluate a company’s position, learn enough about the company to develop an initial online strategy, and then proceed with doing all the steps to prepare a dynamic plan for a quality online presence with  ongoing content and relationship development. While the manager may have to handle everything from choosing the account names to loading and editing photos, the more challenging aspect is the overall decision making about the program, how to manage it, how to evaluate performance, how to handle the challenges, where to take it as it evolves.

Social Media related jobs continue to grow. More people need to be trained in social media for business to fill the jobs that are posted, and the many that have yet to be created.

Where do you find social media jobs? You can find them formally posted on on online job board sites like

Here are a few links:’s Social Media Strategist positions.

Simply Hired’s social media marketing jobs.

There are also less formal job sites like Craigslist. Look for  “social media” in Raleigh Jobs on

And, contract job sites, like and Here’s a link: social media marketing jobs on

There are hundreds of other opportunities that haven’t been posted anywhere. If you get out and talk with small business owners, they’ll tell you about their challenges. If you want to build your own business doing contract social media management work, these business owners may become your clients.

Although a whole generation of people has been raised on computers, mobile devices and Facebook, this younger generation does not always have the business savvy or know-how to manage a business’ social media and Internet marketing presence from definition to hand-off. It’s not something one is born with, and businesses vary too much industry to industry to be readily handled simply by someone who has “been on Facebook since 2004.”

No semester-long training can substitute for ongoing practice and live experience, a thorough training by people who have current experience, is an excellent way to start.

What kinds of social media manager or management or marketing training is available near RTP (Research Triangle Park) in the Triangle?

One source is Martin Brossman & Associates. Martin Brossman has been teaching social media and online marketing for small business all around North Carolina. Martin and Anora McGaha taught a Social Media Management Certificate Program at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro in the Spring of 2013.

In 2012, Anora McGaha and Martin Brossman developed a specific online training for becoming a Social Media Manager Training Program – covering all aspects of defining a social media program for a business or non-profit and creating and managing it. That specific training had as prerequisites the basics of setting up social media accounts, posting, blogging, basic Google Analytics and photo handling, to name just some of the basics.

The Social Media Manager training program is an advanced training in social media management – even though participants are learning the fundamentals of Social Media Management. So much basic knowledge of social media sites and the Internet is needed before adding on the Social Media Management phases. Then they developed a broader program, the Social Media Management Certificate Program which starts at the beginning and takes you through Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels before moving through the Social Media Manager Training.

Although a 14 week course, the pace is fast and requires a lot of independent learning through watching videos and experimenting. Students are required to develop their own project in social media management to demonstrate application of the concepts and practices taught in the course. Find out more by emailing


Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha, Co-trainers and co-authors of the book Social Media for Business – Available on Amazon

Video of Anora McGaha and Martin Brossman talking about their book:  

Cost of Social Media Training

What Does Social Media Training Cost?

Social media work is available at all levels from interns, assistants, coordinators, analysts, specialists, managers or directors; both in office and virtually. But how many people have the training and experience to fill the positions? If you don’t have experience, getting training will give you a head start; and the better training programs require you to apply the learning live to gain experience.

What does social media training cost? You have many choices today for Social Media (SM) training. Prices vary from under $40,000 to a couple of hundred dollars, and of course, what they offer varies too, from a Master’s degree to a certificate. Here are some examples.

Master’s degrees in Social Media Related Fields from graduate schools:

Bachelor’s degrees in Social Media or related disciplines of digital marketing or Internet marketing:

Special or Certificate Programs in Social Media at Universities:

Commercial or Non-Academic Social Media Training Programs:

Community College Social Media Training:

Community college education is often restricted to residents in the local area, and so, while more affordable than other education, is not accessible to just anyone.

Higher prices do not necessarily guarantee better training or better preparedness for employment and higher income. Though certainly, we all know that a Master’s Degree program gives us a qualification and status that you can’t get with a non-degree program. These different programs have different purposes.

What Are Your Goals for Social Media Training?

In order to evaluate what program serves your needs, within your budget, part of it is understanding what your own goals are.

  • Are you looking for the skills to be able to do hourly work through or or, part time and virtually?
  • Are you looking to work for an agency, as a social media assistant or specialist?
  • Or do you want to manage one or more organizations’ online marketing strategy, plan and campaigns?

The bigger the organization you want to work for, the more depth of study and experience you’ll need. Strategies and implementation for Fortune 500 companies are on a wholly different scale than for small businesses of under 50 or under 20 employees.

Ultimately, the more hands-on experience you have the more informed and savvy you’ll become, and the more value you’ll offer as a contractor or employee.

Anora McGaha collaborates with Martin Brossman & Associates for social media manager training that builds skills, concepts and methods for developing and managing social media programs for micro and small businesses. Martin Brossman and Anora collaborated to develop a Social Media Manager Training program.

See the 14 week in-person Social Media Management Certificate Program at Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro. It includes  Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Social Media for Business Concepts and Applications; and our 14 Module Social Media Manager Training developed from close to 6 person/years of hands-on social media management work.

Note. None of these programs are endorsed. They are simply listed as results from current online research. Fees are approximate only, as of June 2012. Contact the organization offering training for exact fees.