This policy provides guidelines for employees and volunteers to follow when they use social media tools on behalf of (name of ministry), or when (name of ministry) becomes part of a social media dialogue.
New social media tools emerge regularly. This policy applies to all forms of social media: those currently in use and those that (name of ministry) may adopt at any time.
Use of Social Media
- All (name of ministry) policies, including harassment, confidentiality and software use policies, apply to the use of social media.
- (Name of ministry)’s official social media participation is managed by the (social media team, an individual, a ministry committee, etc.). This (team, individual, committee) is responsible for regularly posting information on the ministry’s behalf and for monitoring and responding to posts on these pages.
- Ministry employees who misuse the ministry’s social media resources in ways that violate the law or other ministry policies are subject to disciplinary action.
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Social Media Guidelines
- Employees and volunteers interested in representing (name of ministry) on social media must first sign a consent and application form and attend a social media training class. The class will outline the recommended practices, limitations and legal parameters for administering the ministry’s social media accounts.
- Social media postings should not disclose sensitive or confidential information, unless the person that the information concerns has given written consent to share such information. This might include medical information or other personal matters.
- Social media representatives should refrain from posting photos of individuals — or identifying the individuals — on the ministry’s official social media pages without their prior written consent which may be given by email or text. Social media representatives are responsible for disabling the “tagging” of individuals in photos posted on the ministry’s page. If the photos include location information, this information is to be removed as well.
- Social media representatives will respect copyright and fair use laws, making sure that they have permission or authority to use content before posting it. Simply giving credit to the author will not protect the ministry from a possible copyright infringement claim.
- Social media representatives will monitor the page at least once per (measure of time), removing content that is obscene, embarrassing, abusive, or otherwise objectionable. If any posted material appears to be illegal (example: child or elder abuse, etc.), social media representatives should contact their supervisor and other appropriate authorities.
- When communicating with youth via social media, employees and volunteers should follow the ministry’s youth communication policy.
- In addition, ministry workers and volunteers who serve in children and youth ministries should keep their professional image in mind. Online conduct and behavior affects this image. (Name of ministry) discourages staff members and volunteers from accepting invitations to “friend” youth members within personal social networking sites. Contacting youth members outside the ministry’s youth group page may create risks for the ministry workers and alter the dynamic between a youth leader and youth.
- Employees and volunteers are personally responsible for the content they publish online, including content they publish through their own social media pages. Employees should be sure to identify themselves as part of the ministry staff, including their role at (name of ministry) and make it clear that they are speaking for themselves, not officially for the ministry.
- As an employee or volunteer of (name of ministry), remember that your online posts have the potential to affect the ministry, even those you make on a personal level. For this reason, we ask that you conduct your online interactions in accordance with the Employee / Volunteer Handbook, the ministry’ statement of faith, and code of conduct.
- In the event of a crisis, contact the social media leader, church leadership and the church attorney before responding to any posting or comments related to the crisis.
This sample Social Media Policy is provided courtesy of Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company in Fort Wayne, IN. This is a sample document only. Your organization is responsible for compliance with all applicable laws. Accordingly, this sample should not be used or adopted by your organization without first being reviewed and approved by an attorney. Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company assumes no liability in connection with the use or distribution of this sample document.