More and more, businesses are getting their employees involved in social media marketing. That makes good sense – most of us log on to sites like Facebook and Twitter anyway, and having “more hands on deck” makes it easier to post new content and respond to customers in a timely manner.

But you don’t want your company’s social activities to be a free-for-all. That’s why it’s a good idea for every employer to have a set of workplace social media policies. At a minimum, it should cover these five areas:

  1. Responsibility. Who is allowed or responsible for posting to your company’s different social accounts? Is it one person, a group submitting to a single feed, or a set of individuals who each have their own identities?
  1. Appropriate language. I’ve covered in another post why it’s a bad idea to have profanity coming from your company’s social profiles. Make sure you spell out what kind of language you don’t want being used in your communications to customers and colleagues.
  1. Confidentiality. A very common social media mistake is posting confidential company information, details about customer accounts, or other sensitive pieces of data that shouldn’t be seen by the public. Make it clear to team members what sorts of things you don’t want to see online.
  1. Identity. If you have lots of people posting to a single social account, come up with a way (like using employee initials) to separate one person’s posts from another’s. That way, followers won’t get confused and can easily tell whom they should follow up with if they have a question.
  1. Personal vs. private. Make sure employees know that their personal opinions need to be labeled as such. Better yet, advise them to comment on controversial ideas or personal topics through accounts that aren’t associated with your business.

Putting a handful of commonsense social media policies in place gives your employees a set of guidelines to work from and protects you from embarrassing mistakes later. Does your company have a social strategy that makes sense?