Nearly 72% of people in the U.S. use social media. Additionally, around the world, there are over 3.5 billion social media users. However, it’s not just individual users who use social media. Organisations leverage it to market themselves as well.
In such a situation, it’s necessary to have a policy for your employees that governs the use of social media. Let’s try to understand what a social media policy is, and why is it necessary for your organisation.
What is a Social Media Policy?
In its most basic sense, a social media policy is a document that governs the usage of social media for your organisation. It not only covers the social media accounts of your brand but also takes into account the personal social media accounts of your employees.
One thing that makes it tricky to develop a social media policy is the fact that social media keeps evolving continuously. If you want your social media policy to remain relevant, you need to keep updating it regularly. At the same time, you need to ensure that the document is simple and easy to understand so that all of your employees can follow it smoothly.
Now that you understand what exactly a social media policy is, let’s take a look at its advantages.
Advantages of a Social Media Policy
A social media policy is a crucial document that can help you grow your brand’s presence and reputation online.
Here are some of the advantages of creating one for your organisation:
- Helps you maintain your brand identity across multiple channels consistently
- Allows you to create content for social media keeping all the legal and regulatory requirements in mind
- Reduces the chances of a security breach
- Helps you respond quickly to a PR crisis to minimize potential damage
- Clarifies all expectations for your employees regarding their social media usage
- Empowers temployees to spread the word about your brand and help in brand building
Let’s now take a look at how you can create a social media policy for your employees to help you grow your brand online.
How to Write a Social Media Policy for Your Employees:
1. Define Team Roles
It’s essential to assign team roles when you’re creating a social media policy for your company. Plan out who owns which social media accounts and also note down all their responsibilities for those accounts.
Try to add the names, email IDs, and other contact information of these people so that other employees can get in touch with them with ease.
Some of the responsibilities that you might need to assign are:
- Advertising on social media
- Monitoring the security of your social media accounts
- Posting on social media and engaging with your audience
- Regulatory and legal approvals
- Planning and creating a social media strategy
- Responding to crisis
It’s also necessary to specify the names of those who are authorised to represent your organisation on social media.
2. Set Up Security Procedures
Your organisation’s social media accounts are nothing short of assets for you. That’s why it’s necessary to have a plan in place to protect them at all costs.
This is essential because there are many security risks out there, and if your social media account gets hacked, it can harm your brand’s reputation.
Take note of how often your passwords are changed and who’s in charge of managing them. It’s also necessary to keep all your organisation’s software services updated to ensure that they are equipped to fight off any security threats.
You must also have a dedicated team in place for securing your social media accounts. These are the people your employees should go to for reporting any breaches or concerns.
3. Create a Plan for Social Media Crisis
The end goal of your social media policy should be to prevent a social media crisis. Your policy should thus outline all of the necessary steps that you need to take to safeguard your online reputation.
At the same time, you should create a separate social media crisis management plan. This plan should detail all of the steps that you need to take to curb the damage.
It should include all emergency contacts and details of the key stakeholders. You should also assign very specific roles to different teams to manage the crisis. These include social media, legal, and PR teams, along with the top executives of the organisation.
The plan should also include details about how you can identify the crisis and its scope. It must also include a detailed internal communication plan to deal with the crisis. Lastly, it should set a clear hierarchy for approval of responses to ensure that you only give out the right details at appropriate times.
4. Include Legal and Regulatory Compliances
The social media policy must also include details about all of the legal and regulatory compliances that you need to follow. For this, you should get some legal help. Try to simplify these requirements as much as possible so that all your employees can understand them.
Some of the common compliances are:
- Privacy: You must ensure that you protect your customer data at all costs
- Copyright: Whatever you publish on social media must be copyright-free, especially when you’re using third-party materials
- Confidentiality: The policy should outline all possible outcomes of compromising the confidentiality of all internal communication.
There may bel other legal and regulatory requirements that are region-specific, and you must outline these in your social media policy.
Note how Dell has added a special section about laws in their Global Social Media Policy.
5. Outline Usage of Personal Accounts
Along with how you should use the brand’s social media accounts, your social media policy should also include how employees should use their personal accounts. There are several restrictions that you should consider putting down in your policy. These include posting racist content, hate speech, harassment, bullying, violent threats, etc.
Doing such things on social media can violate the law and may go against your organisation’s ethics as well. You should also let your employees clearly know that they’ll be held responsible for their actions. This can help prevent or reduce the occurrences of such issues.
6. Outline Roles for All Employees
While your social media team and PR executives are trained to talk on behalf of your brand, your other employees may not be prepared. You need to ensure that they remain accountable, as well.
For this reason, you should outline the roles of all your employees in your social media policy. The choice of roles depends completely on your organisation.
For example, when Adidas’ employees take part in conversations related to it, they encourage them to mention that their opinions are their own and not those of the brand. On the contrary, Walmart doesn’t encourage its employees to participate in any conversations about the brand.
7. Policy’s Existence
Once your policy is ready, you need to decide where it’ll go live and exist. One of the best places of putting your social media policy is your employee handbook. This way, all your employees, including new hires, can refer to it at all times.
Alternatively, you could put it on your organisation’s intranet to ensure that it’s accessible to all. If you want to make your social media policy public, you can put it on your external website as well.
Many popular brands like Intel have posted their social media policies on their external websites for their audience to read.
When you launch your social media policy, be sure to announce it to your employees. This will ensure that there’s a good amount of debate to improve it, if needed.
8. Review it
Just like all other policies, your social media policy should also be relevant and up-to-date. Using an outdated social media policy may not help you much. You should schedule a yearly or half-yearly review of your policy to ensure that it’s still relevant.
Update all of the contact information to ensure that everyone knows who’s accountable for what. Additionally, you should discuss all the changes that occurred on social media in the given period and update your policy accordingly. Lastly, don’t forget to note down the date of the revision.
Note how FedEx has incorporated the date of adoption and amendment at the bottom of their social media policy.
To ensure that your brand grows on social media and your reputation is maintained, you can draft a social media policy. Define the roles of your teams and employees clearly and set up security procedures. Draft a plan to prevent and combat any social media or PR crisis. You should also include all legal and regulatory requirements that your employees need to follow.
It’s also necessary to include a section on how your employees should use their personal accounts. Determine where the policy will go live and keep updating it regularly to ensure that it’s relevant and effective. Start drafting your social media policy today.