A Guide to Creating a Social Media Policy and Reasons Why You Should Invest the Time in One for a Successful Business Strategy

I received a question recently about a Social Media Policy.  So, I thought I would share some words of wisdom for any company out there looking to create this kind of policy.

First, we need to acknowledge that Social Media Channels have been quite accessible and used by many during the pandemic.  So, I would not recommend a policy that seeks to restrict individual use of personal social media.  Rather, look to provide guidelines that will enhance the reputation of the individual and organization, and provide rules for business accounts. 

Business Accounts

You may want to consider an approval process or have a select few trusted staff post on the company channels.  Giving guidance on topics that can be posted will help if there is not an approval process.  These topics could include things like the acknowledgment of new employees, corrections to the information posted by others, or certain company announcements.

For the selected trusted staff that are posting on the company channels, I would also build this responsibility into their job description.  Including a responsibility like “Share engaging content (frequency) on (platforms) in line with Social Media Policy rules and guidelines.”  If they are also doing this, you could include “Communicate with followers, respond to queries and monitor customer reviews.”

If the Company site gets criticism, it may or may not be worth responding to.  If it is outrageous or from a questionable source, it can be monitored, but not responded to.  If the criticism is thoughtful and reasonable or from a credible source, consider responding to clarify your position.  You can also reach out to them individually to try and rectify the situation.

Postings on company social media channels should avoid opinions, speculation, or negative information about a community.  Information should be factually current, up-to-date, and presented professionally.  Consistency is key on social media.  You want people to recognize your brand.  You want to grow your audience engagement and reach.  To do this, you must also understand the audience you are trying to speak to, so this could be identified in your policy.   

Businesses utilize several social media channels, i.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.  You may want to decide how each of these channels is to be used.  The nature of the messages on each, and how often you will post on that channel.

Personal Accounts

When employees are posting to their channels, posts should not violate a harassment policy or the rules of conduct for that organization.  This could include threatening or defamatory comments to the organization, its leadership, or staff.  These kinds of messages can be cause for dismissal.  Speak respectfully and do not reveal confidential information. You may want to consider a statement like this in your post – “This is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of …”.

If your company provides uniforms, you need to decide if it is okay for employees to post pictures of themselves on their personal accounts in these uniforms.  They will be representing the organization.  Again, this may be a situation in which they need to seek permission.  If they are posting about a company event or volunteer opportunity, uniforms may be allowed.

The risks of using social media for your company can be a damaged reputation or improper disclosure, just to name a few.  Having a policy can attempt to effectively manage these risks.  However, ensure that you continue to monitor and enforce the policy.  You can let employees know that the company will be monitoring the accounts in the policy.

Since social media technology evolves so rapidly, ensure that you review your policy on an annual basis at the very least. 

If there are breaches of the policy, it could range from loss of authorization to use those channels, up to and including termination.  However, situations should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

If you would like help to create a Social Media Policy for your workplace, contact #Balance, we would be happy to help!

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