English: Angry woman.

Nothing has connected the working world to the rest of your life like social media. Twitter users create about 50 million tweets each day, and Facebook has more than 400 million users. Let’s face it; this is a nightmare for Human Resource departments and business owners everywhere.

About a quarter of the employers surveyed by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics had disciplined an employee for improper activities on social network sites. All it takes is one disgruntled employee and a smartphone to create a major problem in your workplace.  So what can you do?

First and foremost, have all employees sign a social media contract. At the very least, you should have some social media protections added to your current employment contract. These social media protections should definitely expand on the usual clause regarding return of company property upon termination, to include deletion of any company information on any computer or technological device not owned by the company. Most importantly, your social media contract should include a prohibition against making disparaging remarks about your company on social networks.

Jason Falls, a Social Media Marketer with Social Media Explorer, has a list of issues that companies should consider when drafting a social media contract:

  • Employee Code of Conduct for Online Communications
  • Employee Code of Conduct for Company Representation in Online Communications
  • Employee Blogging Disclosure Policy
  • Employee Facebook Usage Policy
  • Employee Personal Blog Policy
  • Employee Personal Social Network Policy
  • Employee Personal Twitter Policy
  • Employee LinkedIn Policy
  • Corporate Blogging Policy
  • Corporate Blog Use Policy
  • Corporate Blog Post Approval Process
  • Corporate Blog Commenting Policy
  • Corporate Facebook Brand Page Usage Policy
  • Corporate Facebook Public Comment/Messaging Policy
  • Corporate Twitter Account Policy
  • Corporate YouTube Policy
  • Corporate YouTube Public Comment Policy Company Password Policy

Socialmediagovernance.com has a database of social media contracts and policies that you can look to for inspiration. This database is searchable by industry, and when you’re finished with yours, you can submit it to the database to help others in crafting theirs.

Last but not least, get a lawyer involved. Your contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on if you can’t enforce it.