As organizations realize that instead of tweeting solicitous sales pitches, the true benefit of social media is empowering everyone in the enterprise to serve as unofficial brand ambassadors, explaining the rules of public disclosure to employees has become increasingly important.

Pre-Internet, elaborate, detailed corporate policies on public disclosure weren’t necessary.

A line or two in the corporate code of conduct policy sufficed.

Companies hired marketing and public relations professionals and let them do their jobs.

They were professional spokespeople who understood that impact a public record has over brands.

But a world where a public disclosure is as easy as a Facebook status update or a tweet, setting forth clear-cut guidelines and boundaries for what is, and is not permissible through corporate social media policy has become central to effective online communications strategy.

After reviewing dozens of corporate social media policies, I created this free Social Media Policy Template to accelerate policy development initiatives for organizations of all sizes.