Can We Do That – How to Ensure You Have a Solid Social Media Policy

Can We Do That? How to Ensure You Have a Solid Social Media Policy
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2024-04-04
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Can We Do That? How to Ensure You Have a Solid Social Media Policy
Unit 2Transcript: Can We Do That? How to Ensure You Have a Solid Social Media Policy
Unit 3Workbook: Can We Do That? How to Ensure You Have a Solid Social Media Policy
Unit 4Recording: Can We Do That? How to Ensure You Have a Solid Social Media Policy

Crafting an effective social media policy demands a comprehensive approach that takes into account the benefits and implications of social media usage for the individual on a personal and professional level and the agency too. This interactive discussion offers insights into best practices and guidelines to achieve a delicate balance for a social media policy that is clear, legally compliant, and flexible to guide both the organization and its employees through the nuances of the digital landscape.

Leading the conversation is Katie Nelson. Katie has been a law enforcement strategic communicator for nearly a decade. Previously a journalist, she provides expertise as she teaches best practices when it comes to social media and crisis communication across the country.

Specifics she discussed in this session include:

  • The importance of a social media policy in modern communication strategies and how prevalent it is in criminal justice agencies.
  • The variations of social media definitions across states, stressing the need for agencies to clearly define what platforms their policies cover.
  • How an effective social media policy must be clear, concise, ensures fairness, and allows for both connection and protection of the staff and the agency.
  • Reasons to adopt a social media policy that looks at:
    • Improved reputation and brand identity by outlining how the agency as well as individual employees should communicate the agency’s values online.
    • Establishing rules of engagement about the information that may be and should not be shared publicly online.
    • Encouraging communication without jeopardizing the agency’s mission or message and even facilitating improved staff morale.
    • A clear crisis response plan that is vital for quick, organized action to uphold the agency’s reputation.
    • Promoting equality by ensuring all policies are created equal and everyone is treated equally.
  • How critical it is to craft a comprehensive social media policy to prevent misunderstandings and protect both employees and the organization.
  • The components of a comprehensive social media policy.
    • A consistent, appropriate tone and branding across all social media interactions crucial for maintaining a positive organizational image.
    • Detailed directives on roles and security to safeguard the organization’s social media presence and prevent unauthorized access or content.
    • Clear guidelines on social media use during work, the handling of sensitive information, and the potential repercussions of policy violations.
  • Remembering that staff’s social media accounts reflect on the organization which requires a balance between individual expression and professional responsibility.
  • Questions to consider in terms of including company information on social media bios, sharing photos in the workplace or in work uniform, and other similar guidelines.
  • Certain prohibitions, such as blanket bans on certain topics, requiring social media passwords from employees, or contacting traditional media about work concerns that are legally off-limits in social media policies.
  • Effective implementation of a social media policy through:
    • Employee involvement and ongoing dialogue.
    • Clear and simple language and consistent enforcement.
    • Expert consultation and regular reviews to adapt to changing social media landscapes.
  • Stats that illustrate the widespread social media usage among employees underscoring the need for clear, practical policies that acknowledge its role in the modern workplace.
  • How social media policies should prioritize transparency, safety, personal accountability, expertise, and fair enforcement to foster a respectful, professional online environment.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • The case in Queen Creek Arizona that highlighted exemplary communication on a homicide case.
  • Variation of agency policy that may cover posts, comments, and even pictures.
  • Legal implications of an incomprehensive social media policy.
  • LEOs maintaining personal social media accounts without identifying as law enforcement.
  • How non-law enforcement entities like animal shelters must still implement social media policies to mitigate legal risks.
  • Policies on the use of LinkedIn.
  • First Amendment Rights and Case Law that intersect with social media policies.
  • Keeping policies updated following the constantly evolving nature of social media.



Other Webinars with this Presenter


Click here to view and register for other upcoming PIO, Social Media and Communications webinars on the JCH Platform.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Great information for departments who are questioning their compliance. good information on your personal profile being linked back to the departments. in this era, everyone needs to be wary about everything they do.”
  • “Valuable information, thank you.”
  • “Very good webinar. Concise, focused on important material, gave some additional resources.”
  • “Great class. Thank you.”
  • “Great information on protecting yourself and your agency from liability.”
  • “Awesome Presentation!!!”


Additional Resources
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