DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. Social Media Policy
This policy governs the publication of and commentary on social media by employees of DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. and its board members . For the purposes of this policy, social media means any facility for online publication and commentary, including, but not limited to, blogs, wiki’s, social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and YouTube. This policy is in addition to and complements any existing or future policies regarding the use of technology, computers, e-mail and the internet.
DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. employees and board members are free to publish or comment via social media in accordance with this policy.
This policy applies to all uses of social media, including personal, by DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. employees and board members.
Publication and commentary on social media carries similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary.
All uses of social media must follow the same ethical standards that DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. employees must otherwise follow.
Setting up Social Media
Setting up and using social media accounts need to be authorized by the Executive Director.
Don’t Tell Secrets
It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about your work and have a dialog with the community, but it’s not okay to publish confidential information. Confidential information includes things such as unpublished details about our members, board discussion, and financial information. We must respect the wishes of our members, employees, and board members regarding confidential issues.
Protect your own privacy
Privacy settings on social media platforms should be set to allow anyone to see profile information similar to what would be on the DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. website. Other privacy settings that might allow others to post information or see information that is personal should be set to limit access. Be mindful of posting information that you would not want the public to see. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t be comfortable with seeing on CNN, being asked about by your mother, or having to justify by your boss.
Do not blog anonymously, or use pseudonyms or false screen names. We believe in transparency and honesty. Nothing gains you notice in social media more than honesty – or dishonesty. Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue, or misleading. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, point it out. But also be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. What you publish is permanent, so consider the content carefully and also be cautious about disclosing personal details.
Respect copyright laws
It is critical that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others, including DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. owned copyrights and brands. You should never quote more than short excerpts of someone else’s work, and always attribute such work to the original author/source. It is good general practice to link to others’ work rather than reproduce it.
Respect your audience, DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. employees, members, and board members.
The public in general, and DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. ‘s employees, members, and board members, reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Don’t say anything contradictory or in conflict with the DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. website. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully. This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs, offensive comments, defamatory comments, personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory – such as politics and religion. Use your best judgment and be sure to make it clear that the views and opinions expressed are yours alone and do not represent the official views of DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. Be mindful when posting photos to social media. As a general guideline, photos taken at public events may be posted without consent. Any photos outside these events taken of people require consent.
Protect DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. members, partners and customers.
Members, partners and customers should not be cited or obviously referenced without their approval. Never identify a member, partner or customer by name without permission and never discuss confidential details of a member, partner, or customer engagement. It is acceptable to discuss general details about kinds of projects (for example, mentioning that there are new businesses opening but not disclosing specifics of who) so long as the information provided does not violate any non-disclosure agreements that may be in place. Social media is not the place to “conduct business”, such as selling gift cards.
If you see misrepresentations made about DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. in the media, you may point that out. Always do so with respect and with the facts. If you speak about others, make sure what you say is factual and that it does not disparage that party. Avoid arguments. Brawls may earn traffic, but nobody wins in the end. Don’t try to settle scores or goad competitors or others into inflammatory debates. Make sure what you are saying is factually correct.
Be the first to respond to your own mistakes
If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly – better to remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of a legal action.
Think About Consequences
For example, consider what might happen if a DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. employee is in a meeting with a prospect member, and someone on the members’s side pulls out a print-out of a social media post and says “This person at DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC. says that business sucks.”
Once again, it’s all about judgment: using social media to trash or embarrass DOWNTOWN HELENA, INC., our customers, members, board members, or your co-workers, is dangerous and ill-advised.
Many social media users include a prominent disclaimer saying who they work for, but that they’re not speaking officially. This is good practice and is encouraged, but don’t count on it to avoid trouble – it may not have much legal effect.
Don’t forget your day job.
Make sure that social media does not interfere with your job or commitments.
Social Media Tips
The following tips are not mandatory, but will contribute to successful use of social media.
1.) The best way to be interesting, stay out of trouble, and have fun is to write about what you know. There is a good chance of being embarrassed by a real expert, or of being boring if you write about topics you are not knowledgeable about.
2.) Quality matters. Use a spell-checker. If you’re not design-oriented, ask someone who is whether your on-line communication looks decent, and take their advice on how to improve it.
3.) The speed of being able to publish your thoughts is both a great feature and a great downfall of social media. The time to edit or reflect must be self-imposed. If in doubt over a post, or if something does not feel right, either let it sit and look at it again before publishing it, or ask someone else to look at it first.
Policy violations will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination for cause.