The use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Vimeo and others has increased in the workplace and for corporate use. In fact, social media has become a vital tool in promoting a company, securing leads and developing relationships. However, as the lines begin to blur between social media for private use as an individual or public use as an employee, companies must begin to manage the risks involved in increased social media usage. Zappos, the online shoe company has a simple policy, " Be real and use your best judgement." While others may not be that simple, here are five tips to get you started:

  1. Protect intellectual property. Never place proprietary information on-line.
  2. Respect copyrights and fair use. Always give people proper credit for their work and make you have permission to publish something.
  3. Be responsible for what you write. Avoid language that could be considered defamatory, harassing or indecent. Before you hit send, ask, "Do I want my mom to see this?"
  4. Bring value to the discussion.To build a following you need to bring something to the table so make your contribution significant and meaningful.
  5. Be open, honest and authentic. Include your name, if appropriate the company and make statements in complete disclosure of any potential bias.

Every company will have an issue with employees using social media or even their customers using it and we must all be a bit smarter in terms of what we should do and what we should not do while using it.