Social Media Policy
Social media are powerful communication tools that can impact Southwest Child Care Early Learning Center’s (SWCCELC) professional reputation. Social media can blur the line between personal and institutional opinions. The following policy is designed to clarify how best to protect personal and professional reputations when participating in social media. The goal is to establish practical and enforceable guidelines by which we can conduct ourselves in a constructive, positive and official capacity.
Social media are defined as media designed to be circulated through social interaction, using accessible online forums. Examples include but are not limited to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and SnapChat.
Both in professional and institutional roles, employees need to follow the same behavioral standards online as they would in real life. The same laws, professional expectations, and guidelines for interacting with families, co-workers and the community apply online as they do while on the job. Employees are liable for anything they post to social media sites.
Section 1: Policies and Guiding Principles
Only those officially designated can use social media to speak on behalf of SWCCELC in an official capacity, though employees may use social media to speak for themselves individually or to exercise their legal rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
When engaging in social media activity:
· Protect confidential and proprietary information: Do not post confidential or proprietary information about SWCCELC, students, families or your co-workers. Examples include but are not limited to pictures of students, negative comments about co-workers, and personal information about families. You must adhere to all applicable privacy and confidentiality policies. Employees who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary actions or termination.
· Exercise personal responsibility: SWCCELC trusts and expects employees to exercise personal responsibility when using social media, which includes not violating the trust of those with whom they are engaging. Employees should never use social media for covert advocacy and marketing when acting in a professional capacity. If and when employees use social media to communicate on behalf of SWCCELC, they should clearly identify themselves as employees.
· Respect SWCCELC time and property: SWCCELC computers and time on the job are reserved for center related business as approved by supervisors and in accordance with teacher/staff job descriptions. Abuse and misconduct associated with use of center computers and time will be done at the risk of disciplinary action.
· Don’t use SWCCELC logos for endorsements: Do not use the SWCCELC logo or any other center images or iconography on personal social media sites. Do not use SWCCELC’s name to promote a product, cause, or political party or candidate.
· Respect copyright and fair use: When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of SWCCELC.
Section 2: Best Practices
This section applies to those posting on behalf of SWCCELC, though the guidelines may be helpful for anyone posting on social media in any capacity.
· Think twice before posting: Privacy does not exist in the world of social media. Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on the poster and the center. Search engines can turn up posts years after they are created, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn’t say it at a staff meeting or to a member of the media, consider whether you should post it online. This includes pictures of yourself in compromising situations or displaying controversial lifestyle choices including, but not limited to, substance abuse. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, ask your supervisor.
· Strive for accuracy: You must review your content for grammatical and spelling errors.
· Be respectful: Posts on social media encourage comments and/or discussion. Responses should be considered carefully. Consider how they reflect SWCCELC and its institutional voice.
· Remember your audience: Be aware that a presence in the social media world is public. This includes prospective families, current families, co-workers and colleagues in the child care community. Consider this before posting to ensure the post will not alienate, harm or provoke any of these groups.
· On personal sites: Since reputations are built on trust always identify your views as your own. If you identify as a SWCCELC staff member online, it should be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the center.
· Photography: Photographs posted on social media sites can be copied. Be thoughtful when choosing imagery to post. If pictures of children are being used a release form, clearly describing what image is being posted, must be signed by the family and placed in the child’s file.
· Link back to southwestchildcare.com: whenever possible, link back to the center website. Ideally, posts should be very brief, redirecting a visitor to content on the website.