You Really Need a Social Media Policy 

Why 

Writing a social media policy is extremely important, especially for larger businesses. Not only can it outline how you expect employees to represent your brand online, but a public-facing policy gives your audience rules of engagement that outline your expectation for their conduct. These documents might not seem valuable to your team initially, but inevitably, employees post things online–some things that may not always positively reflect your brand–so having an action plan in place to address those issues will save you a headache.  

Key Considerations 

  1. To be clear, you need two: The internal employee social media policy is a human resources tool that is completely separate from your public-facing social media policy. The public document is meant to explain to your customers or online audience what your brand will do in that space and what is expected of them.
  2. Employees are your brand advocates: You don’t want to over-correct to the point where your employees don’t feel safe publishing content about your brand because they are too concerned with getting in trouble. You need to outline what is allowed in addition to what is not acceptable.
  3. Don’t pressure employees: You cannot require that they publish brand content on their personal social media profiles. If publishing on social media is part of their job, make it clear that they can create new social profiles for the position. Authentic engagement and posting are preferred, so pressuring employees may hurt your online presence in the long run.
  4. Be clear about repercussions: If you plan to block individuals from your brand page after they break the rules, make sure that it is clearly outlined in the public social media policy.

How 

Research and compare to see what other brands have in place to pull initial ideas together. First, build an outline, and then be ready to review with key stakeholders within your organization.  

1) Employee Social Media Policies 

  1. Outline what you don’t want to see in the social media space. It may seem restrictive but could protect your brand from awkwardness or even scandal.
  2. Share what you do want to see published by the team.
  3. Plan for potential conflict and identify the key individuals to engage.
  4. List the consequences for breaking the rules.

This list isn’t exhaustive, but Sprout Social provides detailed considerations for building your policy. 

2) Public Social Media Policies 

  1. List the goals of your brand in the social space from a general perspective; customer service, consumer engagement, and education are overarching strategies.
  2. Give a timeline for responsiveness and what a customer should expect – brands often encourage customers to request support away from social media since the brand has less control in that space.
  3. Provide criteria for a person’s comment to be deleted or for the profile to be banned from a page.

Make sure that your brand is prepared to engage with comments, both positive and negative, but have a plan in place for if a person publishes defamatory content. The CDC outlines its rules well on its Facebook for commenters to see, which social media managers could also link to as a reference if a user asks why comments were deleted. 

Publish 

Know where these documents will live once they are complete, and make sure you present the employee policy internally to ensure you’re able to answer any questions. Many social media channels allow you to link your public social media policy, so publish it to your website and connect the policy to the profile. Our agency recommendation is to have the public policy published in as many locations as possible to make it easily accessible, so link it from your page, publish it in your “about” details, and make it discoverable on your website through a menu. 

 

Recognize that you may need to change the policy in the future but establishing these rules will lead to a more confident and organized social media presence.  

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